Gordon Brown offer to resign as Prime Minister to open the door to a deal for a Labour-Liberal Democrat coalition as the Lib Dems opens negotiation with Labour. I hope the Nigerian politicians are watching what’s going on in the UK, where politicians act in the National Interest.
Mr Brown, prime minister since 2007, said he wanted a successor to be in place by the time of the party’s conference in September. This step simply shows that Gordon Brown has a sense of duty which is deep and strong – Something that is completely lacking in Nigeria’s politicians
Mr Brown announced his intention to quit in a statement in Downing St in which he also said his party was to start formal talks with the Lib Dems.
The Conservatives won the most seats and most votes in the election and have been in talks with the Lib Dems.
But Mr Brown’s statement will be seen as a move to smooth the way to a deal between Labour and the Liberal Democrats to form a government.
Mr Brown said Britain had a “parliamentary and not presidential system” and said there was a “progressive majority” of voters.
He said if the national interest could be best served by a coalition between the Lib Dems and Labour – he said he would “discharge that duty to form that government”.
But he added that no party had won an overall majority in the UK general election and, as Labour leader, he had to accept that as a judgement on him.
“I therefore intend to ask the Labour Party to set in train the processes needed for its own leadership election.
“I would hope that it would be completed in time for the new leader to be in post by the time of the Labour Party conference.
“I will play no part in that contest, I will back no individual candidate.”
Meanwhile Nick Clegg has formally opened negotiations with Labour. This afternoon it became clear that Lib Dem MPs had reservations about the proposed deal with the Tories. Now Gordon Brown has slapped a counter-offer on the table. The Lib Dems could join Labour (and, Brown implied, the Scottish and Welsh nationalists and others) to form a “progressive” alliance. They would just about have a majority.
The Labour leadership contest is now officially open. David Miliband is the clear favourite. Ed Balls will certainly be a candidate, and Ed Miliband has not denied reports that he may stand against his brother. Andy Burnham is also seen as someone with an outside chance of winning. There has been speculation about Alistair Darling, Alan Johnson and Harriet Harman replacing Brown, but all three have in the past signalled that they don’t want the job.