News24

Brown's re-election campaign

2010-02-20 21:03

London - British Prime Minister Gordon Brown launched his re-election campaign on Saturday, appealing to voters with a promise that only the Labour Party can help the dismal economy recover without major cuts to social programmes.

In a speech focused on the economy and social equality, Brown said his governing party would work to create more jobs and protect Britain's public schools and hospitals from spending cuts - unlike the opposition Conservative Party, which he portrayed as elitist and backward-looking.

"We must secure the recovery, not put it at risk," Brown said as he launched the campaign, called "Operation Fightback", at a party rally at central England's Warwick University. "As we reduce the deficit by half, we must protect and not cut front-line services," he said.

Postpone major cuts

Brown's party has said it would postpone major cuts until 2011, hoping to stimulate economic growth.

The Conservatives, headed by David Cameron, said that if elected, they would slash spending to tackle a deficit likely to top £170bn this year - a plan that Brown said would choke off recovery and lead to a decade of austerity.

The Conservative Party said that five more years of Labour rule will not change anything.

"Only real change with the Conservatives will put Britain back on its feet again," the party said in a statement.

Solid chance


Britain must hold a national election by June 3. An exact date has not been announced yet, but opinion polls show that Cameron's party has a solid chance to end 13 years of Labour Party supremacy.

Labour has trailed in polls for more than two years, with Brown all but written off by a public disillusioned by an expenses scandal, war casualties and the financial crisis.

But as Britain emerges tentatively from recession, analysts say the leader may yet have an unexpected shot against Cameron - a confident but untested former public relations executive.

In his speech, Brown urged voters to scrutinise the promises of change made by the Conservatives and to reconsider Labour's achievements.

"I know that Labour hasn't done everything right, and I know ... that I'm not perfect," he said.

"But I know where I come from, I know what I stand for ... My message to you today is simple: Take a second look at us, and take a long, hard look at them."