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Posts Tagged ‘Brown’

Britain’s Labour in post-poll deal talks, Brown to quit

In Uncategorized on May 11, 2010 at 4:47 am

LONDON (AFP) – Britain’s Labour party holds crunch talks with the Liberal Democrats Tuesday, a day after Prime Minister Gordon Brown said he would quit in a bid to keep his party in power following a poll defeat.

Negotiators from Labour meet for formal power-sharing talks with the Lib Dems, who have only officially been talking to the main opposition Conservatives since last week’s election.

Talks began between Brown’s party and the third party, the Lib Dems — who have taken on the role of kingmakers after neither of their larger rivals won a clear majority in the general election — began late Monday.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown addresses the media outside of 10 Downing Street in central London. AFP photo

There were hopes a deal could be struck on Tuesday, party sources said, as Britain entered its fifth day of political stalemate.

Brown made his bombshell announcement Monday that he would quit, and at the same time said talks on power-sharing would begin with the Lib Dems.

In an immediate counter-bid from the Conservatives, chief negotiator William Hague offered a key concession to the Lib Dems in return for their support in a coalition.

Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg welcomed Monday Brown’s statement that he will quit by September as “important” in a possible power-sharing deal between the two parties.

“I think his announcement could be an important element in the smooth transition towards a stable government,” said Clegg, who indicated before the election he would not share power with Labour if Brown remained its leader.

“It must have been a very difficult thing for him to say personally,” added Clegg, whose centrist party is seen as politically closer to centre-left Labour than the centre-right Conservatives.

Brown’s statement marks the beginning of the end of his premiership and an act of political self-sacrifice, increasing the previously distant chance that Labour could extend its 13 years in office through a deal with the Lib Dems.

If that happened, he could still stay on as prime minister for several months even though he led his party to second place behind David Cameron’s Conservatives in the poll.

“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 in a statement delivered in Downing Street.

“As leader of my party, I must accept that that is a judgement on me. I therefore intend to ask the Labour party to set in train the processes needed for its own leadership election.”

Brown added that it “could be in the interests of the whole country to form a progressive coalition government” involving Labour and the Lib Dems.

In Thursday’s poll, the Conservatives won 306 seats in the 650-member House of Commons — 20 short of an absolute majority of 326 — followed by Labour on 258 and the Lib Dems on 57.

Labour and the Lib Dems together would still not have enough seats for a clear majority, and would require help from smaller parties like Scottish and Welsh nationalists.

Hopes had been rising that Clegg’s party could be about to announce a deal with the Conservatives, despite their radically different positions on issues like Europe, defence and reforming Britain’s voting system.

But Lib Dem negotiator David Laws said after a meeting with lawmakers that further “clarification” was still needed, the first indication of possible problems.

Foreign Secretary David Miliband is the odds-on favourite to replace Brown as Labour Party leader, according to odds from bookmakers updated minutes after the prime minister’s statement.

The key potential stumbling block to a deal between the Lib Dems and Conservatives is seen as electoral reform.

The Lib Dems want to scrap the first-past-the-post system, which favours two-party politics and means smaller parties like theirs get fewer seats in the House of Commons. But most Conservatives strongly oppose such changes.

In a clear Conservative counter-offer to the Lib Dems after Brown’s bombshell statement, Hague said the Tories would promise a referendum on electoral reform, a key Lib Dem demand, if they entered a coalition.

“In the interests of trying to create a stable, secure government, we will go the extra mile and we will offer to the Lib Dems in a coalition government the holding of a referendum on the Alternative Voting system,” Hague said.

“That’s the choice that they will now have to make.”

Source: SGGP

China executes Briton over drugs; Brown slams decision

In World on December 29, 2009 at 11:13 am

 China on Tuesday executed a British citizen caught smuggling heroin, the British Foreign Office said, in a move quickly condemned by Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

Akmal Shaikh‘s family and the British government had appealed for clemency, arguing the former businessman suffered from bipolar disorder. The Chinese supreme court rejected the appeal saying there was insufficient grounds.

“I condemn the execution of Akmal Shaikh in the strongest terms, and am appalled and disappointed that our persistent requests for clemency have not been granted,” Brown said in a statement issued by the British Foreign Office.

“I am particularly concerned that no mental health assessment was undertaken.”

China had yet to publicly confirm Shaikh had been executed in the western city of Urumqi at the time Brown made the statement. Shaikh had been due to be executed on Tuesday morning.

Shaikh was still “hopeful” when relatives met him in Urumqi this weekend, his cousin Soohail Shaikh told reporters at Beijing airport late on Monday night.

“We beg the Chinese authorities for mercy and clemency to help reunite the heartbroken family,” Soohail Shaikh had said.

Brown last week asked China not to execute Shaikh, who was born in Pakistan and moved to Britain as a boy. While not leading to any diplomatic rift, the case could harden public opinion in Britain against China, and also rile Chinese public opinion.

The two countries recently traded accusations over the troubled Copenhagen climate change negotiations.

Shaikh’s defenders, including British rights group Reprieve which lobbies against the death penalty, say he was tricked into smuggling the heroin by a gang who promised to make him a pop star. Arrested in 2007, a Chinese court rejected his final appeal on December 21.

Reprieve posted on the Internet a recording Shaikh made of a song, “Come Little Rabbit”, which it described as “dreadful” but which Shaikh believed would be an international hit and help bring about world peace.

He would be the first European citizen to be executed in China since 1951, Western rights groups say.

Shaikh’s family says he suffered from bipolar disorder, and was tricked into becoming a mule by a smuggling gang who promised him a music recording contract.

“This is not about how much we hate the drug trade. Britain as well as China are completely committed to take it on,” the British Foreign Secretary, David Milliband, said in a statement emailed to reporters. “The issue is whether Mr. Shaikh has become an additional victim of it.”

Source: SGGP Bookmark & Share

Hull boss Brown avoids spotlight after vital win

In Uncategorized on November 9, 2009 at 12:00 pm

HULL, England, Nov 9, 2009 (AFP) – Hull manager Phil Brown opted to keep a low profile after his side eased the pressure on their beleaguered leader with a 2-1 win over Stoke.

Brown has been fighting to save his job in recent weeks and he chose not to speak to the media after Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink hit a last-gasp winner at the KC Stadium on Sunday.

Hull City manager Phil Brown issues instructions to his players during the match between Hull City and Stoke City (AFP photo)

Hull, having won just three times in 33 Premier League games, had seemed destined for another damaging defeat after a first-half strike from Matthew Etherington.

But Seyi Olofinjana levelled for the Tigers and Vennegoor of Hesselink struck moments after Stoke had Abdoulaye Faye sent off to lift Hull out of the relegation zone.

“He’s having a beer – he deserves one,” assistant manager Brian Horton said.

“He does like the spotlight, there’s nothing wrong with that but this time he’s chosen not to. He’s a good manager and does lots of good things that people don’t see. He’s got a great future in the game.”

Hull were the better team throughout and Etherington’s effort came against the run of play on 29 minutes after the hosts had already missed several chances.

Olofinjana, who quit Stoke for Hull in pre-season, hit a superb equaliser just after the hour.

Faye’s dismissal for a second bookable offence left the visitors hanging on, and substitute Vennegoor of Hesselink fired home after a Jimmy Bullard shot was beaten away.

Stoke boss Tony Pulis said: “It is the third time we have led away from home this year and not won the game.

“We weren’t at our best but when Matty scored we were hoping that would take us on.”

Source: SGGP Bookmark & Share