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April 28 - May 4 2010 No. 979
THE WEEKLY WORLD EDITION OF The Daily Telegraph AND The Sunday Telegraph telegraph.co.uk/expat
but thousands still stranded
:: NEWS P3
Royal runner Beatrice’s marathon first
Best of British Competition winners announced :: NEWS P7
By Robert Winnett, Rosa Prince and James Kirkup DAVID CAMERON has been given renewed hope of securing an overall majority in the Commons after party strategists identified 20 Labour seats that have unexpectedly become winnable following the rise of the Liberal Democrats.
The success of Nick Clegg in the first two televised debates was thought to have reduced Tory prospects of forming a government after May 6.
However, Conservative strategists now believe that the increase in support for the Lib Dems has been far more damaging for Labour, which is in danger of coming third in the popular vote.
In response, Mr Cameron has ordered an aggressive “decapitation” campaign to try to snatch up to 20 seats that the Tories had previously thought unwinnable, including two held by Cabinet ministers. If successful, the party leadership believes the strategy could help the Conservatives achieve an overall majority of MPs.
On Monday, with 10 days to go until polling day, Mr Cameron was due to take his election campaign to Southampton, where the Tories hope to unseat John Denham, the Communities Minister, who holds a majority of about 9,000. Ed Balls, the Children’s Secretary, is also a target.
Gordon Brown was also due to be in Southampton — the first time since the campaign began that the Tory and Labour leaders have visited the same constituency on the same day.
The Tories were buoyed by polls over the weekend showing a steady increase in their support, while Labour’s popularity declined further and the Lib Dems held steady.
Mr Cameron and his colleagues decided on a new strategy within minutes of last Thursday’s second televised debate, The Telegraph has learnt. The Tory leader had hoped to win power by taking Lib Dem seats in the south of England and drew up a list of targets months before campaigning began.
However, many of these targets are now expected to be retained by Mr Clegg. Instead, the Tories hope to exploit the Lib Dems’ lack of resources to campaign in areas where Labour support has drained away.
The Tories will focus direct mailing campaigns and telephone canvassing on about 20 previously safe Labour seats. These include Sherwood, Coventry South, Stretford and Urmston and Sunderland South. Mr Cameron is expected to visit most of the seats before the election.
One Conservative strategist said: “As one door closes with the surge in Liberal Democrat support, so another door has opened with the collapse in Labour support.” Another campaign source said: “We have completely ripped up our plans and changed strategy in order to keep up with
Continued on page 2
Bangkok braced Thailand on the brink of civil war as protests escalate :: WORLD NEWS P15
Power show Ancelotti’s Blues Brothers on course for the Double :: SPORT P48
PRINCESS BEATRICE became the first member of the Royal family to complete the London Marathon on Sunday as more than 35,000 runners braved rain to take part.
The 21 year-old and her boyfriend David Clark were part of a “human caterpillar” of 34 runners. The team completed the course
in five hours, 13 minutes and four seconds, setting a record for most people to finish a marathon while tied together.
Other marathon runners included Sir Richard Branson, the entrepreneur, and Gordon Ramsay. The celebrity chef failed to finish the race. Sport, page 42
‘I’ll drive you to Calais on condition that you don’t talk about Nick Clegg’