British Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced his intent to resign today after last week’s election failed to produce a majority party.
Brown’s startling news conference upped the ante in talks between the Conservatives, who won the most seats in Thursday’s election but not a majority in Parliament, and the Liberal Democrats, whose third-place finish still leaves them kingmakers. Almost immediately, the Tories rushed out to announce they would offer the Liberal Democrats a referendum on electoral reform — their key demand in the talks — in a last-ditch bid to secure their loyalty. The Conservatives have been reluctant to accept such reform because they fear it would freeze them out of power. The new voting system proposed by both the Conservatives and Labour would bring a major change, but is not as sweeping as a plan put forward in the Liberal Democrat election platform. Brown said the Labour Party, which lost more than 90 seats in the election, would begin a leadership contest to replace him while he focused on talks aimed at breaking Britain’s election deadlock. “As leader of my party I must accept that as a judgment on me,” Brown said, referring to Labour’s poor showing in the election.