Gordon Brown to Resign as Prime Minister as Labour and Lib Dems Prepare for Talks

Published on
by
The Telegraph/UK

Gordon Brown to Resign as Prime Minister as Labour and Lib Dems Prepare for Talks

by
Gordon Rayner

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown addresses the media outside of 10 Downing Street in central London. Brown announced Monday he will stand down as Labour leader by September, and that his party is to hold formal talks on a power-sharing deal with the Liberal Democrats. (AFP)

Mr Brown said he had asked the Labour

Party to begin preparations for a leadership contest in which he
will
"play no part".

His

announcement on the steps of Downing Street was an attempt to woo
the
Lib Dem leader Nick

Clegg by offering his own resignation as a key plank of any deal.

But Mr

Brown also made it clear that he would expect to stay on as Prime
Minister for a few more months in order to put in place his programme
for
economic recovery.

In the most dramatic twist since the election results were announced, Mr
Brown
admitted that Labour's defeat "is a judgment on me."

He said: "If it becomes clear that the national interest can be best
served by
forming a coalition between Labour and the Liberal Democrats then I
believe
I should discharge that duty to form that government which would in my
view
command a majority in Parliament in the Queen's Speech and any other
confidence votes.

"But I have no desire to stay in my position longer than is needed to
ensure
the path to economic growth is assured and the path to economic reform
we
have agreed moves forward quickly.

"The reason we have a hung parliament is that no single party and no
single
leader was able to win the full support of the country.

"As the leader of my party I must accept that that is a judgment on me.

"I therefore intend the ask the Labour Party to set in train the
processes
needed for its own leadership election. I would hope it would be
completed
in time for the new leader to be in post by the time of the Labour
Party
conference.

"I will play no part in that contest, I will back no individual
candidate."

Mr Brown piled pressure on the Conservative leader David Cameron by
announcing
that Nick Clegg "now also wishes to take forward formal discussions
with the
Labour Party".

Mr Clegg later defended offering to open formal talks with Labour and
praised
Mr Brown for his "important" announcement.

The Liberal Democrat leader said: "It must have been a very difficult
thing for him to say personally. But I think he's taken it in the
national
interest and I think his announcement could be an important element in
the
smooth transition towards a stable government that people deserve -
without
prejudicing or predicting what the outcome of the talks will be
between
ourselves and the Labour party."

Mr Brown also re-iterated his commitment to electoral reform, which
would also
include "reform of the House of Lords".

If Mr Brown's plan came to fruition, it would mean the country being led
by a
second successive unelected Labour Prime Minister.

Lord Adonis, the Transport Secretary, said: "Labour and the Liberal
Democrats
are very close together. This will be a partnership of principle.

"We would go into these negotiations determined to succeed. Fifteen
million
people voted for Labour and the Liberal Democrats combined, only ten
million
voted for the Conservatives."

Alastair Campbell, the former Downing Street communications chief,
rejected
accusations that a second unelected Prime Minister would be
undemocratic,
saying: "It's a parliamentary democracy, not a presidential system.
The
Prime Minister is chosen by parliament."

 

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