British PM stepping down as Labour leader

10th May 2010, Comments 0 comments

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced Monday he intended to stand down as Labour leader and his party would hold formal talks on a possible power-sharing deal with the Liberal Democrats.

Brown said he intended to "ask the Labour party to set in train the processes needed for its own leadership contest" but he would "play no part", adding that he hoped the new leader could be in place by September.

In the same dramatic statement, Brown said Labour was to hold formal talks with the Liberal Democrats -- who are already talking to the Conservatives -- on forming a government after Thursday's general election ended in stalemate.

Brown's decision to step down will be seen as an olive branch by centre-left Labour to the centrist Lib Dems in a bid to woo them away from the centre-right Conservatives.

He said it was "in the interests of the whole country to form a progressive coalition government".

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

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

"I therefore intend to ask the Labour party to set in train the processes needed for its own leadership election.

"I would hope that it would be completed in time for the new leader to be in post by the time of the Labour Party conference" in September.

He added: "I will play no part in that contest. I will back no individual candidate."

© 2010 AFP

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