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Brown refuses to give in; may talk to Lib Dems

By Prasun Sonwalkar
Last updated on: May 07, 2010 19:18 IST
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British Premier Gordon Brown, whose Labour lost to the Tories in general election, on Friday appeared to be not conceding defeat and would like to discuss with the Liberal Democrats the chance of the two parties coming together to form a government, if power-sharing talks between the Conservatives and Lib Dems fail.

Out of 638 seats declared, the Conservative party of David Cameron won 301 seats while Labour bagged 255 and Liberal Democrats of Nick Clegg secured 55 in the 650-member House of Commons.

Brown said he respected the decision of Clegg, who has emerged as a king-maker, to speak to the Conservative party but offered to discuss common ground with him.

If discussions between Clegg and Conservative leader Cameron came to nothing, Brown said he would look forward to exploring possibilities with Clegg, particularly in the area of electoral reform and economic stability.

Constitutional and electoral reform has been one of the key campaign points for the Liberal Democrats. By offering to take forward the party's plan on electoral reform, Brown clearly kept open the option of the Labour party forming a government with support from Liberal Democrats.

In a statement outside 10, Downing Street, Brown said the election results had thrown an unprecedented situation of hung Parliament a territory where Britain had not been since the 1974 elections.

Playing the tune of Liberal Democrats, he said immediate legislation needs to be enacted to ensure that the elections reflect the true will of the people.

The key demand is to change the current first-past-the-post system to proportional representation based on the votes polled by parties.

"The election results are likely to show there is no clear majority for any single party. As I said last night, it is my duty as PM to take all steps to ensure Britain has a strong, stable and principled government. This is, of course, chiefly a task for politicians and in time for Parliament," Brown said.

He added: "But to facilitate this process and consistent with the conventions set out in the draft Cabinet Manual, I have asked the Cabinet Secretary to arrange for the civil service to provide support on request to parties engaged in discussions on the formation of government."

Image: Britain's Prime Minister Brown makes a statement in front of his official residence of 10, Downing Street in London on Friday

Photograph: Stefan Wermuth / Reuters

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Prasun Sonwalkar in London
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