UK PM plans to step down by Sept.
Clegg says Brown's speech important step; negotiations continue.
By JPOST.COM STAFF, ASSOCIATED PRESS
May 10, 2010 23:49
2 minute read.
Gordon Brown to step down 311.
(photo credit: Associated Press)
UK Prime Minister
Gordon Brown announced Monday at 7 p.m. he would step down as leader of
the Labor party by September.It's a critical juncture for Clegg. His
position as kingmaker could determine his party's influence not only in
the next government but in elections for decades to come, but only if
the Liberal Democrats can get their main wish — an overhaul of Britain's
Brown opened his speech by saying the Labor party and Liberal Democrats would enter negotiations to form a "progressive" coalition government.
In a remark clearly aimed at
the Liberal-Democrats, Brown said electoral reform was urgently needed.
Clegg commended Brown on his statement, saying it must have been personally
very difficult for him to make, and Brown had made it in the national
interest. Clegg said he considered the announcement "could be an
important element in the smooth transition towards a stable government."
He did not commit himself to reaching an agreement with Labor
Analysis: A rather Israeli election crisis
Labour, Tories court Lib-Dems
Earlier Monday David Cameron and Nick Clegg met
face-to-face, as teams of party negotiators tried to hammer out a
power-sharing deal. Clegg also met separately with Brown.
suggested that Clegg's party might be
open to talks with Labor if Brown agrees to step down, due to Cameron's
expected refusal to back sweeping electoral reform.
issue: Electoral reform, which the Liberal Democrats demand but which
the Conservatives fear would banish them to the political wilderness for
years to come.
Proportional representation is critical to
Clegg because it would mean his party would gain a greater share of
seats in House of Commons. On Thursday, his party earned 23 percent of
the vote yet got only 9 percent of the body's 650 seats.Top Conservative
Party lawmakers arrived for a
meeting in Cameron's office Monday afternoon. Asked if Cameron would be
prime minister by Tuesday, lawmaker Des Swayne, an aide to the leader,
said: "I hope so."