Brown quits but is it too late?

2010-05-11 09:42

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has outflanked his opponents by

announcing his decision to quit but for many in his Labour party the decision

may have come too late, newspapers said Tuesday.

The prime minister said yesterday he would step aside by September,

in a move which paved the way for power-sharing talks with the Liberal Democrat

party that could see his party stay in office despite losing a deadlocked


The dramatic announcement pulled the rug out from under the feet of

the main opposition, the Conservatives, who spent the weekend locked in talks

with the Lib Dems which many expected to lead to the formation of a


“Brown throws final spanner in Tory works on his way out,” said the

Times newspaper, which supported the Conservatives in last week’s poll.

The Daily Mirror, which backed Labour, said the move showed Brown

was still “the master strategist.”

The Conservatives, led by David Cameron, won the most seats in

Thursday’s general election, but not a clear majority that would allow them to

rule alone.

The Lib Dems, led by Nick Clegg, came in third and have now assumed

the role of king-makers – their support could be used to help the Conservatives

or second-placed Labour form a government.

Some commentators, however, thought Brown’s insistence on clinging

to power for so long in the face of growing unpopularity among the public may

have turned out to be a mistake.

The Times said: “Mr Brown went in the end to give Labour its only

chance of staying in power. But across Britain there will be thousands of Labour

activists and defeated lawmakers who are wishing today that Mr Brown had taken

last night’s fateful decision one or two years ago.”

And the Financial Times also noted that Brown’s greatest weakness

was that “he failed to win the sympathy and support of the electorate.”

Some Conservative-supporting papers voiced their outrage at what

they saw as the Lib Dem leader’s betrayal.

The Daily Mail labelled him “two-faced Clegg” and said he had

transformed from “king-maker to assassin.”

“A squalid day for democracy,” declared the paper’s front page, and

blasted Brown for launching a “jaw-dropping bid to keep Labour in office in a

coalition of the losers.”

The Sun was horrified at the prospect of a Labour-Liberal Democrat

deal: “Britain has been called the cradle of democracy,” it said, “If this deal

goes through, democracy will be in its grave.”


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