News / Europe

Brown to Resign British Labor Party Leadership

Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has announced he will resign as leader of his Labor Party.

Mr. Brown says he will resign as leader of of Britain's Labor Party before September.

"I have no desire to stay in my position longer than is needed to ensure the path to economic growth is assured and the process of political reform we have agreed moves forward quickly," he said.

The move comes after Labor came second to its main rival the Conservatives in a general election last week.

And it draws to a close an important chapter in Britain's history.

Mr. Brown has dominated British politics for over two decades and was at the forefront of New Labor when it swept to power with a landslide majority in 1997.

With Tony Blair at the helm, Mr. Brown became Chancellor of the Exchequer.

And in 2007, after years in waiting, he finally took the top seat.

"It is with humility and it's with pride, and it's with a great sense of duty that I accept the privilege and the great responsibility of leading our party and changing our country," said Brown.

Mr. Brown was initially a popular leader, but after a brief honeymoon public opinion largely turned against him.

Richard Vinen, a Professor at King's College London, says Mr. Brown was never able to emerge from the shadow cast by Mr. Blair.

"Tony Blair was such a glamorous figure, such an international figure. Now, obviously, it's not his fault that he was overshadowed by Tony Blair, but it's always meant he's had an election problem because he's such a kind of socially awkward person, because he comes across so badly on television, because he clearly has such difficult problems with some of his Cabinet colleagues," said Vinen.

Mr. Brown's personal qualities haven't been his only problem. The Labor legacy on war - in Iraq and now in Afghanistan - and the economic downturn were added difficulties.

But Mr. Brown has been credited for a leading role in the financial recovery says Vinen.

"I think the thing that will be said most in these kind of political obituaries that are being written as we speak will be to say that he handled the banking crisis well and that he was the kind of key figure in saying that there should be rescue plans for the banks," Vinen said.

But his economic policies have not been enough to keep him in power, and now the question is who will be the next leader of the Labor party.

A number of top Labor politicians are likely to bid for the post, but they say the race won't begin until Britain's current political stalemate is resolved.

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