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  • "
    The Hammer wrote:
    So once again, we will end up having to choose between parties that have next to no difference in their policies. For MP's who abuse their position to feather their own nest. For a system that gets less and less legislation through due to the large amount of time that Parliament is on holiday. For Party leaders with zero charisma.
    .
    Is it really worth it? Perhaps a record low turnout will send a bigger message, although that does have a danger of letting the loony fringe parties in like the BNP and Greens.
    Please don't tag the BNP as "loony".
    Some of my best friends are a bit loony but none support this bunch of evil fascists.
    Sinister would be a more appropriate adjective.
    .
    And lumping the Green’s in with the BNP is uncalled for.
    Just because most people have their heads buried in the sand over the global consequences of our profligate lifestyles does not call for a shoot the messenger attitude to the few who highlight potential solutions to what is our planet’s most pressing issue."
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Gordon Brown calls a general election for May 6, 2010

PM calls general election

Gordon Brown outside 10 Downing Street

David Cameron

Nick Clegg

First published in Elections Daily Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Politics and business reporter

THE date has been set for the UK to go to the polls after the Prime Minister called a general election.

While campaigning has been under way for months Prime Minister Gordon Brown this morning went to Buckingham Palace to formally seek a dissolution of Parliament.

The long awaited move has set the stage for an election on May 6, alongside local council polls.

Parliament will be dissolved next Monday.

The Daily Echo will be featuring comprehensive coverage of the campaign across south Hampshire in the coming weeks.

Today we introduce video profiles of the main candidates explaining why they feel they deserve your vote.

The electoral map has changed somewhat since the last general election in 2005 with some minor boundaries changes and the creation of a new constituency in Meon Valley, largely from parts of Winchester and East Hampshire, and some 600 voters from Havant.

For the Conservatives to win a working majority and end 13 years of a Labour Government they must paint most of south Hampshire blue.

They need a huge swing in the share of the national vote of about seven per cent, or a ten point poll lead to avoid a hung parliament.

Liberal Democrat seats in Romsey, Eastleigh and Winchester, are top Tory targets.

Romsey MP Sandra Gidley held her seat in 2005 with the slimmest of majorities – just 125 votes. Tory challenger Caroline Nokes hopes she can go one better this time and take the seat.

Lib Dems also face a battle to hold their Winchester seat where shamed MP Mark Oaten is standing down after 13 years.

Eastleigh MP and former leadership contender Chris Huhne is the highest profile Lib Dem with a vulnerable majority, of 1.1 per cent.

Meanwhile, Labour will be fighting to hold its two seats in Southampton where Cabinet minister John Denham and Alan Whitehead face a battle with leading Tory city councillors Royston Smith and Jeremy Moulton.

COUNTDOWN TO GENERAL ELECTION

This is the likely timetable in the run-up to polling day:

:: Tuesday April 6

The Prime Minister asks the Queen to dissolve Parliament and announces the date to the public.

:: Tuesday April 6 to Thursday April 8/Friday April 9

Parliamentary ''wash-up'' period, as loose ends of legislation are tied up.

:: Monday April 12

Parliament is officially dissolved. Writs are issued for each of the 650 constituencies.

:: Tuesday April 20

Nomination papers for candidates must be submitted by 4pm. Candidate lists published after 5pm. Last day for voter registration and to apply for a postal vote.

:: Tuesday April 27

Last day to apply for a proxy vote.

:: Thursday May 6

Polling day, with polls open from 7am to 10pm.

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