WRAPUP 3-New polls point to Labour loss days before UK vote

* New opinion polls boost Conservative momentum

* Brown says paid heavy price for “bigoted” gaffe

(Adds new poll; Brown, Gillian Duffy comments; hecklers)

By Mohammed Abbas

LONDON, May 1 (BestGrowthStock) – Four new polls on Saturday
reinforced the Conservative party’s momentum just five days
before Britain’s closely fought parliamentary election, which
increasingly looks set to end Labour’s 13-year rule.

Party leaders toured the country as they ramped up their
campaigns ahead of Thursday’s vote, raising cheers and
confronting hecklers at venues including a doctor’s surgery, a
glass factory and a supermarket.

“Energy, energy, energy, I’m going to be getting right round
the country, the whole way round the United Kingdom, making
clear the choice of the election,” Conservative leader David
Cameron told Sky News about his party’s campaign strategy.

Most opinion polls have shown Britain on course for its
first parliament with no overall majority since 1974, and four
new polls appearing in Sunday newspapers put the Conservatives
ahead, with one showing the party just short of a majority.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown said he paid a heavy price for
calling a supporter of his Labour party “bigoted” on Wednesday
when he forgot he was wearing a microphone, and on Saturday two
key UK newspapers withdrew support for his party.

In an interview in Sunday’s Observer newspaper, Brown
describes Labour as the “underdog”.

By contrast, Cameron has gained momentum since his
performance in a televised leaders’ debate on Thursday, but that
may not be enough to ensure his party wins an outright majority.

Opinion polls have long put the Conservatives in the lead,
but not by enough to avoid an inconclusive outcome, or so-called
hung parliament. Support for the Liberal Democrats surged after
leader Nick Clegg gave polished performances in three U.S.-style
televised debates.

The Conservatives warn voters that a hung parliament would
harm Britain’s economy by not giving them a strong enough
mandate to take decisive action to tackle the country’s record
budget deficit, now running at more than 11 percent of GDP.

Cameron’s party wants to cut spending soon after the ballot,
but Labour and the Liberal Democrats, or Lib Dems, want to delay
cuts until a tentative economic recovery has taken root.


The Liberal Democrats may have the balance of power in the
case of a hung parliament, having jumped ahead of Labour in some
opinion polls. Clegg now says the election is a two-horse race
between himself and the Conservatives’ Cameron.

“We are now certainly campaigning hard in more seats, scores
and scores more seats than we ever have done since the Liberal
Democrats became a party … I think the sky’s the limit to an
election where all bets are off,” he told BBC news.

In the four latest opinion soundings, a ComRes poll for the
Sunday Mirror and Independent on Sunday newspapers put the
Conservatives 10 points ahead of second-placed Labour, which it
said left Cameron’s party 11 seats short of a majority.

An ICM poll for the Sunday Telegraph newspaper put the
Conservatives at 36 percent, ahead of Labour at 29 percent and
the Lib Dems on 27 percent, while a YouGov poll for the Sunday
Times put the Conservatives at 35 percent and the Lib Dems in
second place with 28 percent. [ID:nUKPOLLS10]

An ICM poll for the News of the World newspaper of marginal
constituencies where Labour has a slim majority tied Labour and
Conservative support at 35 percent, which the pollster said
could give Cameron’s party 113 more parliamentary seats.

Clegg has refused to be drawn on who he may ally with in a
hung parliament. He has rejected working with Brown but points
to ideological differences with the centre-right Conservatives.

Centre-left Labour, which is seen as a natural partner for
the centrist Lib Dems, could benefit from such an alliance
should it not win enough seats for a majority, but like the
Conservatives, Labour is focusing on a conclusive victory.

“If we work together and if we fight together, as we will
do, with discipline and with unity over the next few days, as we
will always do … we make sure there is a Labour majority,”
Brown said to cheers at a rally in Sunderland, northern England.

His speech was interrupted by a heckler, who was ejected,
television news footage showed. Clegg was also accosted by a
heckler, while Cameron was confronted by activists from the
far-right British National Party about immigration.

On Saturday, The Times switched its support to the
Conservatives and the once-loyal Guardian is now backing the Lib
Dems. The Guardian’s sister Sunday paper The Observer also came
out in support of Clegg’s party.

The left-leaning Independent was not likely to back Labour
either, a columnist told Sky News.

Brown will have to weather more bad press on Sunday when an
interview with the voter he described as bigoted, grandmother
Gillian Duffy, is published in the Mail on Sunday newspaper.
Brown apologised personally, but she says she will now not vote.

– To see latest stories on the UK election, click [nUKVOTES]

– To see the latest stories about the UK, click on [TOP/GB]
or visit http://link.reuters.com/quq44j for multimedia coverage

– See us online at


– Follow us on Twitter https://twitter.com/reuters_co_uk

(Editing by Charles Dick)

WRAPUP 3-New polls point to Labour loss days before UK vote