Wednesday 20 November 2019

Determined Brown dismisses 'silly' challenge

Daniel Bentley in London

GORDON Brown expressed his determination to remain prime minister yesterday despite a new challenge to his authority.

After a new bout of Labour in-fighting over his leadership, he dismissed last week's attempted putsch as "silliness" and said he was not ready to walk away from the job.

His defiant comments came as new criticism of his leadership emerged from a former Labour general secretary who accused him of reducing Number 10 to a "shambles".

Peter Watt backed calls for Mr Brown to be replaced, saying he lacked "emotional intelligence" and was disliked by even some of his closest cabinet allies. In a move that will dismay his critics, Mr Brown revealed that he was preparing to campaign in the forthcoming general election on the basis that he would serve a full second term as prime minister.

The serialisation of Mr Watt's behind-the-scenes account in a Sunday newspaper of the first months of Mr Brown's premiership, overshadowed attempts this weekend by allies of the PM to rally the Labour troops.

But in an interview, Mr Brown said: "I am prime minister and am determined to remain so. I am determined; I am resolute."

Mr Brown drew a comparison with 'Invictus', the new film about former South African president Nelson Mandela, which he watched over Christmas.

"The Nelson Mandela film, you will be interested to know, is about determination. And that is what I am all about -- determination."

Mr Brown has endured another tumultuous week, with the attempt to end his leadership by former cabinet ministers Geoff Hoon and Patricia Hewitt last Wednesday.

The plot quickly fizzled out, although there are enduring questions about the level of support Mr Brown enjoys.

"I'm sorry it happened," he said yesterday. "I think it was a form of silliness."

Irish Independent

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