London. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown failed to reignite his re-election hopes in a crunch TV debate that boosted rival David Cameron’s hopes of winning next week, polls said on Friday.
Less than a week away from next Thursday’s ballot, Brown battled to move on from a gaffe in which he called a pensioner a “bigoted woman”, and his performance on the last of three TV debates failed to inspire.
In a sign of his ruling Labour Party upping the campaign tempo, former premier Tony Blair made a new appearance, backing the party’s battle to cling on to power after 13 years in office.
Instant polls taken after the final debate on Thursday showed Brown trailing Cameron, leader of the opposition Conservatives, by more than 10 percentage points. The Liberal Democrats’ Nick Clegg came second.
A YouGov survey for the Sun newspaper had the Tories on 34 percent, Lib Dems on 28 percent and Labour on 27 percent.
Unveiling a new campaign poster on Friday, Brown acknowledged that, if opinion polls remain as they are, he could be out of power by next Friday.
“If things stay the same way, then the Conservatives and possibly the Liberals could be in a government in a coalition together,” he said. “We will continue to fight for the future of this country until the very last second of this election campaign. The time for debate has finished. The time for decision has begun.”