Labour play Blair card in election race

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Labour play Blair card in election race

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He has been there many times before. Winner of three elections in Britain, Tony Blair has been on the campaign trail for Labour ahead of next week’s poll.

Visiting a health clinic near London, he leant his support to the beleaguered Gordon Brown, saying “it’s a tough job being prime minister, I know”.

The Labour leader himself has vowed to work longer and dig deeper to fight back, an implied reference to his recent blunder.

The Conservative leader David Cameron said the election was far from won. Yet although his party leads in the opinion polls, some analysts suggest there is still likely to be no overall majority in Parliament.

“A hung parliament certainly looks like where we’re headed at the moment,” said Kate Davies, political research manager for the polling agency YouGov. “If things can change, if the Tories can extend their majority over the Labour Party and the Liberal Democrats then perhaps we’ll see differently, but with a week to go it certainly looks now that there’ll be a hung parliament.”

Should that happen, the Liberal Democrats under Nick Clegg would probably play a key role in forming a government. At a price, say some experts, for one of the party’s key demands is to change the electoral system.

“If there is a hung parliament and they get that reform as part of a deal, then their numbers increase even more dramatically in any future elections,” said constitutional historian Philip Cowley at Nottingham University. “At that point parliaments, or coalition governments or minority governments or whatever, almost become inevitable.”

Six days before the poll, the Lib Dems’ progress – aided by the TV debates – has turned the election into a three-horse race. But there have been warnings that a hung parliament could lead to political deadlock, delaying key decisions.