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Is the Labour Party playing the game fair?

Today's announcement that Gordon Brown will be the only one of the three main political leaders in possession of the latest economic data prior to next week's TV debate has attracted outrage from many in the city and especially the statistics watchdog. The decision to allow Gordon Brown access to critical and confidential information on the UK economy, while barring other political leaders from seeing the same data, is an outrage which could seriously backfire on Gordon Brown.

Many people believe that there was some kind of regulation in place which ensured that no major political announcements could be made prior to the election and all parties would be in possession of the same data on the election campaign. However, this does not seem to be happening in the current general election campaign and only Gordon Brown will know whether the UK economy has slipped back into recession or is indeed moving towards a new phase of growth.

There is no doubt that very quickly, after the debate has begun, we will be aware of the significance of the data which Gordon Brown will be in possession of. He is likely to make political hay while the sun shines if the UK economy is booming back into a growth phase although he will obviously attack opposition leaders as putting the "recovery at risk" if the data is in anyway disappointing. Is this really the way a democratic debate should be run?

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