Labour MPs pay tribute as Gordon Brown resigns
May 10 2010 by Jonathan Walker, Birmingham Post
Labour MPs have paid tribute to Gordon Brown after he gave up the battle to remain in Downing Street and announced he was quitting as party leader.
Birmingham MPs said they believed the sudden announcement could keep Labour in power – with the support of the Liberal Democrats.
Mr Brown’s revealed his decision outside Downing Street yesterday in a last ditch attempt to keep the Tories out of office.
He said Labour would have a new leader by the time it held its party conference in October.
But he hoped to stay in charge long enough to oversee a deal with Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats, which would allow Labour to stay in office – with a new leader, who would also become Prime Minister.
Khalid Mahmood (Lab Perry Barr) said: “Gordon has done the right thing. We lost the election and he has taken responsibility for that.”
And Richard Burden (Lab Northfield) said: “I hope this clears the ground for the discussions between Labour and the Liberal Democrats that I think make a great deal of sense.”
Liberal Democrats have already begun informal talks with Labour about a potential deal to keep the Tories out of office.
But one of the stumbling blocks was believed to be Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg’s belief that he could not help Mr Brown remain Prime Minister.
Conservatives won 306 seats in last week’s election, 20 short of the 326 needed to enjoy a majority in the Commons. Labour won 258 and the Lib Dems won 57.
Even if Labour hammer out an agreement with the Lib Dems, they will not have enough seats to form a majority government.
Instead, they would need to form a “rainbow coalition” which included Welsh nationalists Plaid Cymru, the Scottish Nationalists and possibly the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland.
In his dramatic statement outside Number 10, Mr Brown said: “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.
“As leader of my party I must accept that as 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.
“I will play no part in that contest, I will back no individual candidate.”