Gordon Brown, Prime Minister and Leader of the Labour Party
Gordon Brown, 07/05/2010
Category: General Election 2010
With the outcome of the general election, we find ourselves in a position unknown to this generation of political leaders with no single party able to have a commons majority and therefore have a majority government.
I therefore felt that I should give you, and through you the country my assessment of where we are, I do so as Prime Minister with a constitutional duty to seek to resolve the situation for the good of the country not as the leader of the Labour Party less than a day after the election.
What we have seen are no ordinary election results, people have been talking for some time inside and outside government about the possibility of a hung parliament that possibility has now become very really and pressing. The question for all the political parties now is whether a parliamentary majority can be established that seeks to reflect what you the British people have just told us.
First, it is well understood that we face immediate economic challenges that must be met. A meeting of the Euro Group is being held tonight to discuss Greece and other issues. In advance of this the G7 finance ministers including America and Britain are meeting by conference call to discuss the deteriorating situation in the Euro area, Alistair Darling is participating for the UK. Our economic priorities for Britain are to support economic recovery, this year 2010, and as the recovery stabilises to move swiftly to implement our deficit reduction plan.
On the critical question on the formation of a government which can command a Parliamentary majority I have of course seen the statements of other party leaders. I understand and completely respect the position of Mr Clegg in stating that he wishes first to make contact with the leader of the Conservative party. As you know we already have in place mechanisms and facilities that will give the political parties any civil service support that they may need. Mr Cameron and Mr Clegg should clearly be entitled to take as much time as they feel necessary.
For my part I should make clear that I would be willing to see any of the party leaders, clearly should the discussions between Mr Cameron and Mr Clegg come to nothing, then I will of course be prepared to discuss with Mr Clegg the areas where there may be some measure of agreement between our two parties.
There are two areas in particular, where such discussion would be likely to focus. The first is the plan to ensure continuing economic stability, where there is substantial common ground, and the plan to carry though far reaching political reforms including changes to the voting system. Both of us have made clear our commitment to this in our manifestos and the electorate has sent us a very strong message which must be heard. My view is clear, there needs to be immediate legislation on this to begin to restore the public trust in politics and to improve Parliament“s standing and reputation. A fairer voting system is essential and I believe that you, the British people should be able to decide in a referendum what the system should be. What all of us need to mindful of is the imperative for strong and stable government and for that to be formed with the authority to tackle the challenges ahead, and one which can command support in Parliament.
It is with this in mind that all of us should be facing the times ahead. I understand as I know my fellow party leaders do that people do not like the uncertainty or want it to be prolonged we live however in a parliamentary democracy, the outcome has been delivered by the electorate, it is our responsibility now to make it work for the national good. I am sure that you will understand that this is all that I have to say at this stage today. Thank you all very much.