News24

Era of Labour rule over

2010-05-11 21:09

London - Gordon Brown resigned as prime minister of Britain on Tuesday and said Conservative leader David Cameron would take over, ending 13 years of rule by the centre-left Labour Party.

The centre-right Conservatives won most seats in a parliamentary election last week but fell short of a majority. Labour came second and the Liberal Democrats a distant third.

Both the Conservatives and Labour tried to win Lib Dem support to form the next government during five days of intense negotiations, but it became clear on Tuesday afternoon that Labour had lost and Brown would have to resign.

"I have informed the Queen's private secretary that it's my intention to tender my resignation to the Queen," Brown told reporters outside his Downing Street office, flanked by his wife Sarah.

Emotional

"In the event that the Queen accepts I shall advise her to invite the leader of the opposition (Cameron) to seek to form a government. I wish the next prime minister well as he makes the important choices for the future," an emotional Brown said.

He added it had been a "privilege to serve" the country and wished Cameron well.

"Only those who have held the office of prime minister can understand the full weight of its responsibilities and its great capacity for good," Brown said.

"I have been privileged to learn much about the very best in human nature and a fair amount too about its frailties - including my own."

He also paid a glowing tribute to Britain's armed forces, which are currently serving in Afghanistan.

The sequence of events was in accordance with British constitutional convention. Just after his statement, Brown, his wife and their two children briefly posed for photographers before leaving Downing Street, the official prime ministerial residence.

Brown's statement made clear that the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats had secured some sort of power-sharing arrangement, but the exact details were not yet known.

Senior Conservative William Hague, who has been negotiating with the Lib Dems, told reporters minutes after Brown's statement that he and his team now had recommendations to propose to party colleagues.