Conflicting new polls showing widely varying Conservative leads underline the volatility of the political situation in the midst of the global financial crisis.
A poll for the 'IoS' showed the Tory lead over Labour had grown to 11 points. The double-digit Tory lead suggested Gordon Brown's "bounce", through his handling of the financial crisis, was flagging. A new YouGov poll for the 'Sunday Times', however, shows a Tory lead of just 5 percentage points.
The ComRes survey for the 'IoS', carried out last Wednesday and Thursday, showed the Tories up three points from last month to 43 per cent, while Labour gained one point. More than 50 per cent of respondents said Labour would lose the next election, regardless of who led the party. However, in a week when British companies announced thousands of job losses, barely one in three people said they blamed Mr Brown.
Downing Street sources have indicated that Mr Brown will use the 24 November Pre-Budget Report to further boost his standing with a pre-Christmas tax giveaway aimed at low-income groups, probably through tax credits or winter fuel payments.
The Prime Minister launched a withering attack on the Tories yesterday after the shadow Chancellor, George Osborne, warned that his economic policies could cause a run on the pound.
Mr Osborne was accused of breaking an unwritten convention with his comments.
At the G20 summit, Mr Brown said: "When other countries are coming together for a common purpose, I think it is the duty of politicians to show responsibility and to show leadership."
The pound fell to a 13-year low against a basket of currencies on Friday, including a record low against the euro, with Britain expected to cut interest rates again to try to boost its economy.