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CCHQ gets ready for March 25th election as Brown continues scorched earth policy

Speculation is growing that Gordon Brown might go to the country earlier than expected, on 25th March next year.

In this morning's Yorkshire Post Tom Richmond notes one of the key factors that may influence Gordon Brown's choice: "The reason is simple. It would mean Labour having to put off the Budget until after polling day."

"Almost 200 senior party officials have been ordered not to take holidays after January," says The Sun: "Leader David Cameron wants all his top advisers at the party HQ to be available at a minute's notice - including policy, research and campaign team staff. Shadow ministers will also step up talks with senior civil servants, who will brief them on what to expect if they win."

Brownsscorchedearthpolicy One thing is certain - as Peter Oborne sets out in today's Mail - Brown is still pursuing a scorched earth policy:

"Gordon Brown now finds himself in a similar position to John Major. He, too, faces election defeat. But there is no sign of the magnanimity and sense of public duty shown by either Jim Callaghan or John Major. Very much the opposite: it now looks very much as if he has launched what some Whitehall officials describe a 'scorched-earth policy'.

Rather than do the right thing by Britain, he seems to want to make sure that David Cameron will face the worst possible inheritance if he wins the election next spring. For instance, Brown has been appointing Labour cronies to key posts. Recently, the job of High Commissioner to Australia became vacant. Instead of choosing a highranking Foreign Office diplomat for the post, Brown rewarded a failed Labour politician, Baroness Amos. Similarly, Lady Ashton (Labour's former leader in the Lords and a figure of little consequence) has been appointed to the vital post of trade commissioner in Europe. Narrow considerations of Labour Party control of the levers of power dictated these appointments and certainly not the national interest.

But Gordon Brown's most palpable act of political selfishness concerns his economic policy. Next year the national deficit is set to rise towards £200billion, a figure without precedent in our history..."

Peter Oborne is at his best today. Read him here.

Tim Montgomerie

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