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Britain's Prime Minister Rallies Labor Party, Vows Election Fight

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British Prime Minister Gordon Brown addressed the ruling Labor Party conference in the seaside resort town of Brighton Tuesday with a rallying cry to fight to win in next year's election. The speech was widely billed as crucial in Labor's effort to reverse declining poll numbers and give the party a chance to win the vote.

It was the keynote address at the Labor Party conference. But it sounded like a campaign speech as Gordon Brown, at the very start, vowed a fight to win next year's election. "Our country faces the biggest choice for a generation. So we need to fight, not bow out, not walk away, not give in, not give up, but fight, fight to win for Britain," he said.

Throughout his speech, the prime minister focused on the government's achievements and portrayed Labor as the party of the working, mainstream public.

On the economic crisis, Mr. Brown said his government faced tough choices on whether and to what extent the government should intervene in financial markets - to let the recession run its course or to stimulate the economy. "We made our choice - help the small businesses, targeted tax cuts for millions [of people] and advancing our investment in roads, rail and education. That was the change we chose. And it was a change that benefits the hardworking majority and not just a privileged few," he said.

Labor has come under vehement criticism from the opposition Conservatives for the government's bail-out of failing banks and for large public spending that many analysts say will leave future generations with a mounting public debt.

But in his speech, Mr. Brown refuted that and portrayed the Conservatives as the party of the privileged few, willing to stand by and do nothing.

Throughout his speech, the prime minister promised further change and reform, including holding bankers accountable and cracking down on crime and anti-social behavior.

This speech was widely seen as crucial for Gordon Brown's political future and for the Labor Party. Public opinion polls show rapidly declining support for both. According to one survey, Labor is in third place for the first time since 1982 - behind the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats.

 

Mr. Brown received rousing applause from Labor delegates at the conference. But analysts say the real test will come at the ballot box.

 
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