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Swing voters hold the key

Prime Minister Gordon Brown, struggling to hold on to power, campaigned in a close-fought seat in eastern England while David Cameron, leader of the opposition Conservatives who lead polls, was in the northwest.

world Updated: May 04, 2010 01:18 IST

Britain’s party leaders pushed into the final days of campaigning on Monday for what looks set to be the closest general election in decades.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown, struggling to hold on to power, campaigned in a close-fought seat in eastern England while David Cameron, leader of the opposition Conservatives who lead polls, was in the northwest.

While Britain is on a national holiday, the knife-edge fight is increasingly focused on swing voters in the few dozen key marginal seats which could determine the outcome of the election. The result in each is too close to call.

Under Britain’s political system, the party which wins an overall majority of seats in the House of Commons can form a government. However, opinion polls suggest that no one party may be able to do that after Thursday’s election, leading to a hung parliament for the first time since 1974.

Cameron on Sunday outlined plans for his first 100 days in power including an emergency budget and setting up an Afghanistan “war cabinet”, prompting Labour to suggest he was taking victory for granted.

A Sun newspaper/YouGov daily opinion poll on Monday gave the Conservatives 34 per cent, unchanged, the Liberal Democrats 29 per cent, up one per cent, and Labour 28 per cent, unchanged.