Gordon Brown will decide whether or not to call an election this weekend, The Guardian reports today. His aides, apparently, now think he is more likely to go for it than not. An announcement on October the ninth and an election on the first of November is the favoured option. This would allow Brown to announce the handover of Basra province to the Iraqis and might allow Alistair Darling to deliver the comprehensive spending review and pre-budget report before Brown goes to the country.
The risk for Brown of an election on November 1st is not so much turnout but the fact that he needs to go and sign off on the EU treaty in Lisbon just a fortnight before polling day. If the Tories are smart they will play the absence of a referendum not as a European issue but as one that cuts to Brown’s trustworthiness and character.