Govt shedding bills with eye to early election

Govt shedding bills with eye to early election
Govt shedding bills with eye to early election

The government has dropped a handful of bills from next month's Queen's Speech, leading to suspicion Gordon Brown is gearing up for a general election.

William Hills has shortened the odds on an election in the first half of next year from 11/4 to 2/1.

"All of a sudden there is talk of a General Election early next year - and it is being backed up with hard cash from political punters who have been staking up to £400 a time that it will happen' said Hill's spokesman Graham Sharpe.

Unverified reports in the Evening Standard suggest the prime minister is "seriously considering" setting the election for June 4th, to coincide with local and European elections.

The communications data bill - a highly controversial piece of legislation giving the government access to every Briton's phone calls, texts and emails - has been dropped, as has the heritage protection bill.

Analysts said the move raises the possibility of an earlier general election than expected. A lightened legislative burden will allow MPs to concentrate on their constituencies.

The government is expected to keep any plans for an early general election closely under wraps after the fiasco that erupted when Mr Brown was enjoying his honeymoon period.

But is the predictions are correct, the UK could be looking at an election in the summer of next year. The latest date the government can leave it is mid-2010.

Whitehall sources only confirmed the dropped bills last night, two weeks before the Queen's Speech on the 3rd of December.

The dropping of the communications data bill marks a relatively successful year for civil liberties campaigners, who can now add the victory to their checklist which includes 42-day detention and private coroners inquests.

Of the original 18 bills pencilled in for the Queen's Speech, only 14 now remain.
Mr Brown will be sorely tempted to call an early election. He is looking at his most successful poll results since his honeymoon period suddenly ended with the decision to bottle a general election in 2007.

William Hills still have 2010 as the favourite date, however. The company are offering odds of 4/6 on a 2010 election.

They are offering 4/11 for a Conservative victory, Labour 2/1 and the Liberal Democrats 100/1. A hung parliament has odds of 2/1.


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