Royal no-show fuels election fever

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The Independent Online
The Queen's non-appearance at the Cheltenham Gold Cup yesterday fuelled speculation that the Prime Minister was on his way to Downing Street to seek the dissolution of Parliament for a general election on 1 May.

Instead, John Major will put his troops on an election footing in a speech at the Tory Party Central Council in Bath tomorrow but is not expected to announce the date until next week.

The alarm was so high that, according to one ITN source, ITN scrambled a helicopter to hover over the Prime Minister's route to the Palace to capture the historic footage. ITN last night said it was not on a special job; it was on the way back from Portland and was "taking shots for use in future reports". Colin Brown