Brown makes `speech of his life’ to stay in office

June 9th, 2009 - 1:55 pm ICT by ANI  

Gordon Brown London, June 9 (ANI): British Prime Minister Gordon Brown last night made “the speech of his life” to head off a backbench Labour rebellion that called for his exit from office.

Brown survived the crunch Commons showdown by owning up to his faults and admitting that hw was not perfect.His escape came hot on the heels of Labour’s dismal performance in the Euro elections that had allowed the far-right BNP to get their first ever seats in the European Parliament.

But despite the election failure Brown’s MPs decided to put him “on probation”, reports The Sun.”I have my strengths and I have my weaknesses. There are some things I do well and some things I do not do so well. I’ve learned that you need to keep learning all the time. You solve the problem not by walking away but by facing it and doing something about it,” Brown was quoted, as saying.

He also pledged to act in a “more collective way”, and signalled policy changes would be announced within days.

Earlier, during the meeting, in front of all Labour MPs and Peers, Brown faced his critics head on. He listened and spoke for 90 minutes as they lined up to attack him.

More than 20 were called to speak, the majority in support of the Prime Minister staying on. Backers included ex-Health Secretary Frank Dobson and former Labour leader Neil Kinnock. Both made powerful speeches to rousing applause.

About six called either for the PM to stand down, for a leadership contest or for the chance to make their views known in a private ballot. There was also a bruising encounter for the PM as three former ministers lined up to call for him to go.

They were former Home Secretary Charles Clarke, ex-Transport Minister Tom Harris and ex-Home Office minister Fiona McTaggart.

An appeal for a secret ballot of all 350 Labour MPs was kicked into the long grass.

One MP said of Brown: “He was very humble and self-critical. I’ve never heard him adopt this tone before. This was a completely different Gordon Brown from the one we see in public. He seemed to accept he had fallen well short of our expectations and he was willing to do all he could to raise his game.”

Schools secretary Ed Balls - the PM’s closest ally - told Sky News: “We are all on probation. If Gordon Brown cannot show the leadership then we will lose the election and our probation will be over.” (ANI)

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