Election fever is dispelled by Brown

NORTH-East MPs are today winding down from the election-footing that had caused so much speculation in recent weeks.

Tory campaigners in London

NORTH-East MPs are today winding down from the election-footing that had caused so much speculation in recent weeks.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown yesterday announced there would be no snap election.

Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show, Mr Brown said: “I think it’s very unlikely that this will happen in the next period. I think the important thing is that we get on with the business of change in this country because people do want change and I am responding to that demand.”

His announcement sparked a mixed response from North MPs.

Tyne Bridge MP David Clelland said he would have preferred the chance to fight an autumn election.

“Given all of the hype in the build up to this, then in my opinion I think we should have gone for it. It is Gordon’s choice, it’s up to him when we go and I’m sure he had his reasons.”

Hexham Tory MP Peter Atkinson accused Labour of backing down in the face of a Conservative revival.

He said: “It is not long ago that the region’s Labour MPs were making a big a show of how ready they were to fight an election. Then along comes a poll or two that they don’t like and they all change their mind.

“Now we have a situation where the whole of the country is run by a man who is more concerned with retaining power than about governing responsibly.”

Mr Brown also came in for criticism from Berwick Liberal Democrat MP Alan Beith, who said the Prime Minister only had himself to blame for the largely negative media coverage.

“Gordon Brown should have had this decided before the conference season began,” he said. “If he wanted a mandate from the public then he should have sought it when he took over.

“It is ridiculous that he could think it was OK to be PM and then choose when to seek a mandate. We were ready to fight an election but this shows why we need set parliamentary terms.”

Among Labour MPs backing the decision was Durham North’s Kevan Jones. He said: “I think he made the right decision. I have always been suspicious about snap elections and a rush to the polls.”

And Newcastle North MP Doug Henderson said: “It is simply too early to have to call an election. It is at least two years and maybe three years too early to be even thinking about going to the polls. While the papers are accusing the Gordon of not having the bottle now, in a few weeks there will be something else to write about.”

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