Gordon Brown to resign as Labour leader

Gordon Brown has announced that he will resign as Labour leader and that formal talks will be held with the Liberal Democrats on forming the next UK government [Adds: Gordon Brown will remain in place to lead those talks].  The 13 Northern Ireland MPs who take their seats might yet have an important role to play.  BBC report here  And the Guardian is live-blogging eventsAdds  Do the math…  Detail From the BBC report

Mr Brown said Britain had a “parliamentary and not presidential system” and said there was a “progressive majority” of voters.

He said if the national interest could be best served by a coalition between the Lib Dems and Labour – he said he would “discharge that duty to form that government”.

But he added that no party had won an overall majority in the UK general election and, as Labour leader, he had to accept that as a judgement on him.

“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.

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

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  • percy

    Bit misleading that headline mr.baker,
    Brown seeks to continue for perhaps as long as October 2010, he gave a clue in saying “before the autumn conferences”

  • If Lab and Lib get away with this, and I hope they do, then i can foresee circumstances where Cameron bites the dust and William Hague resumes leadership. Wee Willie will yet become Prime Minister.

  • slug

    The DUP must be excluded from this – I heard the PM talking about a *progressive* coalition. A party with as homophobic a person as IPJ cannot be progressive.

  • apollo293867

    Here Here

  • Driftwood

    Another General Election in October then. Meanwhile the money markets will take aim. Is it possible to plead ‘special status’ and ‘our civil service economy’ to the IMF?

  • PeterFyfe

    I suppose an over all vote of 54.8% would give the progressive alliance proposed in the Guardian a moral legitimacy and 329 seats, which is six more than the 323 needed to establish a majority. You wouldn’t even need to include the homophobes who would be more at home with the BNP.

  • East Unionist

    Brown has to vacat number 10, morally if nothing else, David Cameron love him or loathe him is the leader of the largest party in Britain. Gordon Brown should accept his failure to secure his place as elected Prime Minister and move on with dignity. The Conservative party along with the Liberals should be given an opportunity to put the country back on track, maybe we will get some of the lazy spongers back to work (obviously i do not include people who cannot work for whatever reason)…I also agree with Slug- if Cameron was looking for a negative coalition then the DUP are the people for him.

  • slug

    Gordon: So what do you in the DUP require to support us?

    Peter: Can you promise not to ban double jobbing?

    Gordon: done.

    We certainly have been.

  • Greenflag

    64% of the people of Britain did NOT vote Tory .John Major got 41% of the vote in his last term of government . Dave Cameron could only manage 36% .

    Ironical if the door opens up for the DUP . The UCUNF shower must be choking on their tonsils at the prospect.

  • slug

    Yes and no.

  • Greenflag

    The UK has just been rescued by the EU . But you’ll never hear the Tories admit it . The fire ready aim methodology is typical of the neo con nutters on the right . The world and Britain has had enough of their spurious and failed ideology .

  • joeCanuck

    More than likely for another election. Certainly within a year.

  • Greenflag

    If you unsure you are choking or not I suggest the Heimlich manouever 😉 But you’ll need assistance from another party 😉 Now where are those Tories when you need them ?

  • slug

    No seriously there is good news for UCUNF in a Lib-Lab pact, I will not however mention what it is as would distract from the thread.

  • will8ace

    Did someone mention the West Lothian question?

  • Cameron leads the biggest party. So what? If he can’t command a majority, then that doesn’t mean a whole lot does it? That’s the way the system works, that’s the system the Tories want to keep, so no point in them crying about it now. Cameron has no moral right to No 10, either on seats and definitely not on vote share.

  • HarryJ

    The DUP must be excluded from this – I heard the PM talking about a *progressive* coalition. A party with as homophobic a person as IPJ cannot be progressive………..

    adrian watson….chris grayling.

    no one in te DUP ever mentioned discriminating against gays, that was UCUNF members

  • HarryJ

    labour and Lib Dems represent 53% of those who voted

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    If this comes to pass the Tory press (and Driftwood) will be very disappointed that it will be a stable government with the 3 Nat parties (SDLP, Plaid and SNP) all responsible members of their respective government Assemblies.

    Odds have shortened since earlier in the day (from 4/1 to 2/1) but Tory-Lib pact still favourite, at evens, with Patrick Power esquire.

  • Some quick notes in a fast-changing situation:

    A “rainbow coalition” (even if it’s only an unspoken agreement) is a UK government. A Tory government is near-enough an English one. In hard times, which is preferable outside the leafy suburbs and rolling ancestral acres?

    Only the Tories can afford an early re-run: moreover, the Assemblies are up for re-election next year, as well.

    The Tories have other problems: yesterday Nadine Dorries done over for expenses, today a messy Goldsmith divorce. So much for Conservative family values. Meanwhile, Murdoch, the Mail, the Telegraph are already looking for a turn-to-the-right. Memo to self: get money on Hague.

    The speculators have just been burned big time over Greece. Sterling has a breathing space. If there’s a notional trillion to support the PIGS, it puts the UK position into proportion.

    As I understand it, any agreement entered into by the LibDems has to be approved by three-quarters of the parliamentary party. Surely that meant any pact with the Tories, which did not guarantee electoral reform, was dead from the start?

  • slug

    They just call them “vile” etc.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Hague is undoubtedly a star BUT if only he hadnt stood up when he was four and half and delivered that speech at the Tory conference and if only he hadnt agreed to take the Tory leadership when the Tories were less popular in Britain than the hated French and if only he hadnt boasted that he drank 15 pints a day and shagged everthing that moved when he were a good Northern lad and if only he hadnt worn that baseball hat during the Notting Hill festival – he would be a nailed on certainty.

  • Greenflag

    Malcolm Redfellow’

    ‘Surely that meant any pact with the Tories, which did not guarantee electoral reform, was dead from the start?’

    You may be assuming that the LIb Dem parliamentary Party are politicians of unimpeachable pristine and unsulllied principles . The ‘lure’ of power has so often triumphed over principle that one wonders why the very word itself has not been expunged from the political lexicon .

    A dignified exit by Mr Brown and his timing was on the ball . Another cat thrown among the pigeons . I’m almost moved to describe the current political uncertainty as a GUBU moment in British political history .

  • Blue Hammer

    Where where??

    I think the parliamentary language required is “Hear, Hear”

  • My point there was it needed just fifteen of the LibDem parliamentary party (I’m assuming that their noble Lordships are excluded) to have a backbone.

    I must agree with you: beautiful timing (the hand of Mandy?) — after the markets closed, before the 1922 Committee, just in time for the evening news bulletins. Simples! Tsk!

  • Driftwood

    The bookies have it a virtual cert there will be a fresh General election in the Autumn or early next year.
    If a coalition of the losers joins up with a coalition of the spongers to form a majority of 2 (The Thirsk seat still to be elected is safe Tory), then that is not workable. The money markets know the UK would be like the Bismarck, rudderless and surrounded. Guess which party can easily afford to go to the polls again shortly?

  • joeCanuck

    You must be disappointed too – that you didn’t challenge me to a bet last week on the odds of a Lab-Lib pact. No chance now.

  • the bookies are taking bets on Cameron’s successor.


  • joeCanuck

    As much chance as another joker, Sammy Wilson, taking over from Robinson. Wait a minute….there might be a vacancy soon.
    Cameron is going nowhere; he had a reasonably acceptable outcome.

  • slug

    BREAKING NEWS: Tories have offered referendum on AV. This is dramatic stuff.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit


    I’m not sure about that. Why would the govenment be unstable? There would be guaranteed dosh for the Celtic fringe – look at it as reparations if it is easier for you for colonial misdeeds – altohugh that particular bill will take a long time to pay off – the Celtic finge would ensure that the government was a success as long the English continue to pay up.

    Of course the only the ‘progressive’ forces would be included ie no place for the DUP. We will now have LUSDLPAPF LabourUlsterSocialDemocaticandLabourPartyandAlliancePartyFront. Not a great name I agree but at least they have 4 seats unlike the previous pretenders to government in the UUP/UCUNF.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit


    ” I will not however mention what it is as would distract from the thread.”

    Gwan, gwan, gwan. Or let me guess do you mean a big story will give them cover for their disappearing act.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    I have Patrick Power esquire very worried.

    Odds now 6/4.

  • Except:

    The LibDems don’t want AV, and have already rejected that as an offer (though words can be eaten in moments of desperation).

    The offer came from Osborne, a poisonous little toad, not greatly loved even in his own party.

    Who writes the referendum question?

  • Cameron blew it big time and everybody knows it.

    Tories are ruthlerss.

  • joeCanuck

    They’re beginning to sound a bit desperate; that was an absolute no-no as recently as yesterday.

  • slug

    I know they don’t want it but I think they’d regard it as a change in the right direction.

  • joeCanuck

    A slight note of caution for liberal supporters. Here in Ontario (nationally too), we have a similar situation. A third party, the NDP (left wing New Democrats) regularly gets about half the seats their vote might entitle them to. The Ontario government (Liberals, slightly left of centre) held a referendum about 4 years ago proposing a change to PR from FPTP. Now they didn’t actively promote it and, IMO, didn’t explain it very well in their newspaper ads, but the outcome was that a very large majority rejected the proposal.
    Have there been any UK polls on the issue?

  • Greenflag

    When I hear Tories or Tory supporters using the word ‘morality ‘ family values ‘ etc it’s a bit like listening to Al Capone preaching on the ethical imperative of paying one’s lawful taxes or Goldman Sachs executives lecturing on financial rectitude and fiscal honesty .

  • White Horse

    AV is not proportional representation.

  • joeCanuck

    Yes; my misunderstanding. Must come close in the outcome though?

  • English Republic

    I am no fan of the Tories but they have been given a mandate by the people of England and they should therefore be allowed to form a majority government on areas that are devolved to the other nations at the very least. The only legitimacy that such a so-called “Progressive Alliance” will have is over genuinely UK-wide areas such as defence and the economy. What I find galling is that the parties who campaigned twenty years ago about what was called the democratic deficit whereby Scotland voted Labour but got Tory and which resulted in the Scottish Claim of Right (a document signed by none other than the outgoing Prime Minister amongst others) and ultimately the creation of devolved parliaments and assemblies for everyone bar the English are now queueing up to foist an anti-Tory coalition upon the people of England who have for better or worse voted for a Tory government. That to me is not democracy it is dictatorship and will destroy the UK as a political entity in no time. Home Rule for England!

  • slug

    No its pretty disproportional but its not necessarily bad for Lib Dems-they could gain according to simulations.

  • Elvis Paisley

    given that the heading is GB ‘to resign’ – and not GB ‘resigns’ – i’d say it’s quite accurate.

  • Driftwood

    A majority of less than 20 is inherently unstable, deaths, illnesses, family issues. There would be constant votes of confidence and the markets would sink it within months. Big cuts are required and regional squabbles would be impossible to manage. possible break up of the United Kingdom.This is pure mischief by Mandelson and Campbell. Labour cannot afford another election that will surely bury them.

  • Greenflag

    English Republic ,

    ‘ the people of England who have for better or worse voted for a Tory government.’

    Except they haven’t . The Conservatives received 9,9111,062 votes whereas the majority of the voters in England 13,103,532 voted for either Labour or the Lib Dems .

    While my sympathies are with the long trodden upon and abused English taxpayer I’d be careful demanding Home Rule for England .

    We asked for that from Ireland a century ago but although the LIberals agreed the Tories were not having it -so we ended up with war , revolution and civil war and a partitioned country with deep sectarian divisions which still alas exist in the north eastern part of this island .

    You would’nt want that to happen to England would you ?

    If all of Ireland were still in the UK you do realise that the Liberals would probably be a much larger party than they are now and the 70 or so Irish MPS would now be deciding who would be British Prime Minister ?

    An awful thought I know but you can thank the old SF (1918) that that possibility is just a bad dream .

    I’m inclined to think that the DC may still just shade it . While the offer of Gordon’s head on the plate raised the stakes it may have come too late . On this occasion I hope I’m wrong .

  • Greenflag

    The Conservative ‘electoral commission ‘ offer has obviously been dust binned . And David Cameron was reputedly unaware that Clegg’s men had been seeing Labour Senior politicians simultaneously . Would that not have been his first assumption prior to negotiating ? DC may be a decent man but perhaps political poker is not his sharpest suit ?

  • alan56

    An awful lot of fingers could be burnt here.. Cameron might be wise to walk away and wait for things to take their course.

  • slug

    No not that.

  • alan56

    This idea has Mandleson written all over it

  • pinni

    Doesn`t apply to Peter anymore, I suppose. But does for Alliance. Their MP is also an Assembly member and councillor – a triple jobber!

  • In passing, I see that The Economist has just given all of us a new racial category:

    emerged from Number 10 just now to announce that the Labour Party would be beginning formal negotiations with the Liberal Democrats, about the possible formation of a so-called “progressive” coalition (which would necessarily include assorted Celts too). Then he dropped his real bombshell. Mr Brown said he felt it was his responsibility to secure the “path to economic growth” and advance the “process of political reform”. But he accepted that the result of the general election was, in part, a judgment on his leadership. Therefore he was asking the Labour Party to initiate a leadership contest, with a view to having a new leader installed in time for the party’s conference this autumn.

    [Since Slugger no longer allows a preview feature, the chances of that lot formatting properly are what East Anglians term “a huly wunder”.]

  • percy

    love that:

    Home Rule for England!

    what’s UK got, that’s init for you?

    Can’t we Irish have Home Rule too?

    and the Scots?

    then we can all be friends, equal, and partners

    who could possibly object?

  • Nick is beginning to look like an indecisive shopper who can’t decide between two different washing powders.
    How will this go down in the UK when it sinks in that it could be like this from now on after every general election?

  • Comrade Stalin

    The parliamentary system that we have in the UK is the system that the Conservative Party have consistently fought to defend, arguing that it enables “stable government”. They can’t simultaneously argue that the fact that they failed to obtain an overall majority under the system they themselves support means they still have a right to govern – it doesn’t.

    It’s also pretty stupid of people to argue that the Tories have a mandate “within England” given that the Tories stood on a mandate of closer ties between the regions of the UK. Once again, you can’t use an argument that the Tories opposed during their election to justify the notion that the Tories have a right to form a government.

    Coupled with the specious arguments being put in the Tory media for the Prime Minister to “get out” of No 10, seemingly wanting to cause a constitutional crisis by forcing the Queen to make a political decision, you get a real picture of the Conservative Party and its supporters playing fast and lose with the British constitution to meet their own selfish ends.

    The Liberals and Labour have both acted in a mature, statesmanlike fashion within the past number of days. Gordon’s decision to step down and announce this now has the fingerprints of Peter Mandelson all over it, although it’s hard to see what else he could have done. I suspect we’ll see wheeling and dealing over the next 48 hours. It would be particularly pleasing if the Northern Ireland parties agreed to come together to act as a bloc to vote with one voice on the issues we all have in common.

  • bob wilson

    Actually totally Conservative and Unionist vote was 10,809008 not as stated above

  • Reader

    percy: Can’t we Irish have Home Rule too?
    We have twice as much home rule as anyone else.

  • fin

    gosh, everyone sounds like a Shinner at the moment, I’m sure its meant to be about the economy, jobs etc etc yet here we are with no government cos the 3rd largest party won’t play ball without political reform.

    coupled with Cleggs anger at people not been allowed to vote (a certain far right blogger from slugger mentioned SF’s ‘illegal’ behaviour at the polling station in Garrison elsewhere recently)

    I’m beginning to think the Lib Dems are the new Sinn Fein!

  • Driftwood

    A big sponge would be an excellent logo for such a bloc. Us being so special and deserving of more English money. What about a common cry Waaahh! Waaahh! for our ‘Civil Service economy’.

  • Michaelhenry

    the lib dems take the oath, the lib dems are subjects who see the crown has superior, whilst SINN FEIN are equal which should be the way of life for everyone, if you want to be a subject thats your own business, just do not annoy us equal people.

  • Greenflag

    That was in the UK . The figure I gave above above i.e 9,9111,062 votes for the Conservatives was for England only ,as was the 13,103,532 votes for either Labour or the Lib Dems .

    For the UK including Scotland , Wales and NI the total for the Conservatives (including UUP ) would have been your 10,809,008 still a long way short of the Labour /Lib UK total of 15,586 ,028 and even a longer way short of the 18, 886 , 068 voters who did not vote Conservative .

  • andnowwhat

    I’d imagine Clegg is taking his time because he’s trying to get the best deal for himself.

    The tories aren’t even close to what he wants most, PR.

    I think he’ll put the wind up labour for a bit by running back and forth until he gets as near to what he wants.

    Well, you would, wouldn’t you

  • Greenflag

    ‘whilst SINN FEIN are equal ‘

    Equal to what ? Obviously not equal to the job of representing their constituents in the Parliament that keeps the public sector gravy train going in Northern Ireland .

  • Michaelhenry

    greenflag sounds like a subject, do not bow to any one person, specially to some one who bans an entire faith from their family.

  • Pete Baker
  • Pete Baker

    As I said, it’s not about the oath…

  • percy

    not as I see it.
    Wales isn’t partitioned, nor Scotland, nor England.

    They’re in an unholy alliance, ( the UK ) no-one wants bar the establishment bigots, deluded irish unionists, da Queen, and her sychophantic subjects—-who care not for the rights of other peoples and nations, as long as they can boast supremacy and wave the butchers apron like cretins at football matches

    I’m not bitter though 😉

  • Anon

    It’s not *all* about the oath. Be precise.

    Anyways, did anyone catch Reid and the other Scts Labour on Newsnight? Whoo-ee, they hate the Nats much much more than the Tories.

  • Michaelhenry

    i hear you pete, check the times on each comment.

  • fin

    represent? don’t be silly Greenflag, the only impact a NI party has had in the Commons in recent years was to swing the votes on 42 day detention and a 3rd runway at Heathrow, even MR struggled to justify been there, indeed she struggled to justify the partys MPs absense from there as well.

  • fin

    Reid was sooooooooo bitchy. However it may soon become about the oath if the British publics interest is maintained in political reform, it could become very very embarassing if the Queen steps in and invites someone to form a party, I think people will be shocked at how the system actually works. So far, people have been prevented from voting, the 3 parties can’t form a govt. cos one of them wants politics made a bit more fair, possibility of unelected person making a decision on everyones behalf and then all MPs swear an oath to that unelected person!!!

    When Labour toyed with replacing the oath before there was a huge interest, neither was there any real resistance, the current situation may well put the whole process into a sharper focus

    So for Sinn Fein its not about the oath, for the British people it may soon be all about the oath and just who runs the country

  • Anyone who still feels the oath is some shibboleth should approach Dennis Skinner, the “Beast of Bolsover”, and a fine English socialist and republican, for guidance.

    Dennis has been getting away for parliament after parliament pledging allegiance to “Queen Elizabeth the Second and all who sail in her”.

    But then Dennis is one who does some good at, in and of Westminster.

  • Bulmer

    re you telling us that the love that dare not speak its name is supported widely in the SDLP and SF?

  • daisy

    This is a vanity project for Brown. He’s gambling on the fact that there’ll almost certainly be an election in the autumn at the earliest if this Lib/Lab pact happens. In the meantime he’s hoping to end his premiership on a high by being seen as the person who steadied the ship until others were able to take over. Thankfully the much-maligned long summer holidays that parliament enjoys means he can’t do too much harm in the interim. He’s harder to remove than skid marks.

  • Aphrodite Kallipygos

    I’d say the last thing the Labour Party wants is a second election. Where’s the money?

    And really if there’s one character weakness G.Brown has not got, it’s vanity.

    And, Daisy, if you’re going to pretend to be feminine, don’t have skidmarks. They’re just too, too lads in the spit and sawdust.

  • English Republic

    So Labour and the Lib Dem’s are the same party now are they? Taking that arguement a bit further we should be campaigning for a Tory/Labour coalition as that would be far more representative of what the English people voted for!

    As for being careful demanding home rule, we are already a partitioned nation. Have you not heard the expression “Nation’s and region’s of Britain” so beloved of Brown? No prizes for guesing who are the nation’s and where the “region’s” are!

  • English Republic

    You wouldn’t get any arguement from me on that one Percy.

  • daisy

    “if you’re going to pretend to be feminine”