FACTBOX-Likely timetable for Britain’s general election

April 1 (BestGrowthStock) – British Prime Minister Gordon Brown is
widely expected to announce next week that a general election
will be held on May 6.

The last possible date for the ballot, which could see the
Labour party lose its 13-year grip on power to the
Conservatives, is June 3.

Following is a timeline of key dates:

April 6 – Brown expected to call election. First national
rail strike in 16 years due to start. Labour’s historic links
with trade unions mean that industrial action risks damaging the
party at the polls.

April 6 week – If an election is called, parliament finishes
essential business in what is known as “wash-up” session before
members head for constituencies to campaign or head into
retirement. Well over 100 members of parliament are not standing
for re-election.

April 8 – Bank of England decision on interest rates due, as
well as data on manufacturing and industrial output. Analysts
expect rates to be kept at a record low of 0.5 percent but the
data will be closely watched for signs of economic recovery, a
central campaign issue. (ECONDATA: )

April 8 – Reuters publishes latest Ipsos MORI poll of
marginal seats. [nUKPOLLS10]
April 12 – If the election is to be held on May 6,
parliament must be dissolved by April 12. Dissolution marks the
start of a “purdah” period, during which ministers and civil
servants must follow guidelines to ensure they do not use their
position for party political advantage before the ballot.

April 12-13 U.S. President Barack Obama hosts an
international summit on nuclear security. Brown has not
confirmed if he plans to attend or stay in Britain.
April 15 – The first of three televised debates between
Brown, Conservative leader David Cameron and Nick Clegg, leader
of the Liberal Democrats. The debate will be aired on Britain’s
ITV1 channel, and focus on domestic affairs.

April 21 – Employment statistics expected.

April 22 – Public finance figures for March expected. This
will include the size of Britain’s budget deficit, forecast to
be the largest on record. Reducing the deficit is the main issue
on which the election is being fought.

April 22 – Sky News to host another TV debate by heads of
the main parties. The theme is expected to be foreign affairs.

April 23 – Preliminary gross domestic product for the first
quarter to be announced. The figure will be closely watched for
any sign of a “double-dip” recession.

April 28 – Reuters poll of economists’ forecasts to be
published on next Bank of England interest rate decision as well
as the probability of a “hung parliament”, in which no party has
an absolute majority.

April 29 – The final televised debate between main party
leaders, hosted by the BBC. The main theme will be the economy.

May 5 – Reuters poll on sterling to be published. Sterling
(GBP=: ) has been sensitive to political developments, and polls
suggesting a hung parliament have put pressure on the pound.

May 6 – Polling day. Polls close at 2100 GMT and exit polls
will give first indication of outcome.

May 7 – Declaration of election results from 650
constituencies. Some constituencies are likely to forego the
traditional overnight count on cost grounds, meaning results
will come later in the day.
May 12 or 18 – Parliament will reconvene. Parliament
normally holds its first session six days after an election, but
a proposal is under consideration to extend this to 12 days.

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FACTBOX-Likely timetable for Britain’s general election