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Gloomy New Year ahead for Brown

world Updated: Dec 26, 2007 01:41 IST
Vijay Dutt

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s hope that the New Year would bring happy tidings and he would regain the popularity he enjoyed when he took over six months have been dashed.

Almost half of all voters believe it is “time for change” and that the Conservatives should form the next government. The most striking finding of polls is that 48 per cent of the public agree that “it’s time for change and the next government should be a Conservative one” while only 36 per cent would prefer a Labour administration.

Ministers are, according to some MPs, worried that this sentiment can become a lethal weapon for Tory leader David Cameron, just as it was for Tony Blair in 1997. Previous surveys suggested a narrower gap when similar questions were asked, raising Labour hopes.

Indeed, a Brown loyalist, Sunder Katwala, general secretary of of the Labour-affiliated Fabian Society said the Prime Minister was now “the underdog” and that there was a very real possibility of a Cameron government. He blamed the Government's “autumn horribilis” on “a mixture of bad luck, poor judgement and incredible stupidity”, but said Brown could still turn it around by setting out a positive agenda for change.

The ComRes survey for The Independent also found that more people think Tory leader David Cameron would make a better prime minister than Gordon Brown.