With the starting pistol fired, Britain’s main party leaders have leapt out of the blocks into the general election race.
Prime Minister Gordon Brown and wife Sarah kicked off the month-long campaign by hopping on a train at London’s St Pancras to canvass in Kent.
Brown is banking on experience, hoping wavering voters will stick with Labour to marshal a fragile economic recovery and protect public services.
But the Prime Minister faces a tough fight in the form of the opposition Conservatives led by David Cameron. He insists he offers a ‘fresh start.’
The Tories are edging Labour in the polls, but a once runaway lead has been slashed, raising the possibility of a hung parliament.
With the economy topping the agenda Cameron has described the election as the most important in a generation. He has promised tougher action to tackle Britain’s ballooning deficit, while also pledging to exempt most workers from a Labour National Insurance tax hike due next year.
The May 6th vote is expected to be the most hotly contested in almost two decades and with so much political uncertainty over who will form the next government, the Liberal Democrats, led by Nick Clegg, could be potential kingmakers. He insists his party is the only one out the three to offer real change.
With even the bookies offering strong odds that the final outcome will be inconclusive, there are fears the result could spell a second national poll later this year.