March 11, 2010
Gordon Brown is trying to turn the threat of a double-dip U.K. recession into an advantage.
The British prime minister, whose Labour Party is narrowing the gap in opinion polls with the opposition Conservatives, is arguing that the economic recovery is too “fragile” to justify cutting the U.K.’s record budget deficit right away.
Brown is seeking a fourth term for Labour as Britain struggles to recover from its worst slump in six decades. While jobless claims are at the highest since the party came to power in 1997, opinion polls show that Brown has made up so much ground that David Cameron’s Conservatives will fail to gain a majority in the election, which must happen by June.
“A weak economy might perversely be good for Labour,” Jonathan Loynes, an economist at Capital Economics Ltd. in London, said in a telephone interview. “To a degree it would support the government’s position that it shouldn’t try to tackle the budget deficit too quickly, and at the same time undermines the Conservatives’ position.”