Reports in the British media today are suggesting that British Prime Minister Gordon Brown will visit the Queen today to dissolve the Parliament and trigger a UK general election for Thursday, 6 May.
After a long period of Conservative dominance in the polls, the Labour Party has been clawing back ground over the last few weeks and months, bringing the Conservative lead in most polls below 10 points, raising the prospect of a hung parliament, even possibly with Labour as the largest party, due to the pro-Labour bias in the electoral system. The Conservative Party has pushed its lead back up to around 10% in polls since about last Wednesday, but that trend isn’t universal.
Today’s Guardian ICM poll is reporting a Conservative lead of only 4%, which is one of the closest polls seen this year, but not far off what recent polls have been indicated. Such a poll would raise the prospect of Labour remaining the largest party, despite polling less than the Conservatives.
David Cameron’s Conservatives remain the clear frontrunner in this election, but it is much less clear now than a few months ago. Labour has successfully pulled the Conservative lead back from the stratospheric figures we saw in 2009, such that the prospects of a hung parliament have become very strong.
I’m planning to post a number of times about the UK election over the next month, including profiles of the election in each region. I am currently rushing to finish my map of the 1997 UK electoral boundaries. I have finished the 1997 maps of Northern Ireland and Wales and have completed most of England, barring Lancashire, Cumbria and the North East, and I hope to have it finished this week, followed closely by the Scottish boundaries (which were also used for the first three Scottish Parliament elections). You can download these works-in-progress now. Of course, you can also download the maps for the new boundaries being used in 2010 for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland: