Mr Brown said he had asked the Labour
Party to begin preparations for a leadership contest in which he
"play no part".
announcement on the steps of Downing Street was an attempt to woo
Lib Dem leader Nick
Clegg by offering his own resignation as a key plank of any deal.
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
In the most dramatic twist since the election results were announced, Mr
admitted that Labour's defeat "is a judgment on me."
He said: "If it becomes clear that the national interest can be best
forming a coalition between Labour and the Liberal Democrats then I
I should discharge that duty to form that government which would in my
command a majority in Parliament in the Queen's Speech and any other
"But I have no desire to stay in my position longer than is needed to
the path to economic growth is assured and the path to economic reform
have agreed moves forward quickly.
"The reason we have a hung parliament is that no single party and no
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
needed for its own leadership election. I would hope it would be
in time for the new leader to be in post by the time of the Labour
"I will play no part in that contest, I will back no individual
Mr Brown piled pressure on the Conservative leader David Cameron by
that Nick Clegg "now also wishes to take forward formal discussions
Mr Clegg later defended offering to open formal talks with Labour and
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
interest and I think his announcement could be an important element in
smooth transition towards a stable government that people deserve -
prejudicing or predicting what the outcome of the talks will be
ourselves and the Labour party."
Mr Brown also re-iterated his commitment to electoral reform, which
include "reform of the House of Lords".
If Mr Brown's plan came to fruition, it would mean the country being led
second successive unelected Labour Prime Minister.
Lord Adonis, the Transport Secretary, said: "Labour and the Liberal
are very close together. This will be a partnership of principle.
"We would go into these negotiations determined to succeed. Fifteen
people voted for Labour and the Liberal Democrats combined, only ten
voted for the Conservatives."
Alastair Campbell, the former Downing Street communications chief,
accusations that a second unelected Prime Minister would be
saying: "It's a parliamentary democracy, not a presidential system.
Prime Minister is chosen by parliament."