The British Prime Minister can (well the Queen can if s/he advises her to) call an election at any time. The UK just had a general election 2 years ago and the next one isn’t expected until 2008 or 2009 (2010 at the latest). Will Brown call an early election to give him a “mandate”? How soon would he call it? Is it even a given that Labour would retain a majority? How popular are the Conservatives?
It’s unlikely: too many of his backbenchers are in marginal seats.
No. He’s spent the last ten years waiting to get into Number Ten, he’s not going to risk throwing it all away with an early election, especially seeing as there’s a lot of resentment around the country from Blair’s time in office.
Going to the polls after only two years since the last election seems a bit much. Elections are bloody expensive things for all concerned. Plus, the advantage of being Prime Minister going into an election is that you can point to the things that you’ve done in office, compared to the untested fellow on the Opposition side.
If he went to the country now, he’d forfeit that advantage - both he and the Leader of the Opposition would be in roughly the same spot. And, he would have Blair’s record to defend.
Better to run the government for a year or two, put his own stamp on things, and then go.