Conservatives 19 Points Ahead Of Labour

(Reuters) – THE CONSERVATIVES remain on course for a return to power following the annual party conference season, an ICM Poll for the News of the World Sunday newspaper said.

Support for the centre-right Conservatives stands at 45%, 19 points ahead of Labour, and enough to give them a strong majority in parliament in an election due by next June. The Liberal Democrats are in third place on 18%.

The Conservatives have extended their lead by five points since the previous ICM poll, taken two weeks ago before Labour held its annual conference.

The conferences give the main parties huge media exposure and were seen this year as the launch-pad for campaigning for the election.

The Conservatives warned at their conference that they would cut spending in order to reduce a huge budget deficit, outlining plans for a freeze on public sector pay from 2011 and to raise the age at which people can get their state pension.

A rapid recovery from deep recession is seen as the only chance of salvation for Prime Minister Gordon Brown and his Labour party, in power since 1997.

Brown said in a podcast on Saturday that action taken by the government including spending billions of pounds on bailing out banks had prevented recession from tipping into depression.

‘I believe that we have reached only the half way point on the road to rebuilding the global economy,’ Brown said.

Brown said he would give more details in a speech on Monday about ensuring the economy grows in an enduring and sustainable way.

‘Because it is ultimately growth that is the key to paying down debt,’ he said.

Brown, who has faced media questions in recent weeks over his health and eyesight, has two minor tears in his retina but will not require surgery, his office said on Saturday.

Brown, who lost the sight in one eye following a rugby injury as a teenager, has repeatedly said he is fit enough to lead he country.

ICM Research interviewed 1,008 adults on October 7-8. Conservative leader David Cameron gave his keynote speech to close his party conference on October 8.

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