Brown pledges support for Blair

Gordon Brown says he will support Tony Blair to make his own departure decisions
Gordon Brown says he will support Tony Blair to make his own departure decisions

Gordon Brown has insisted it is up to Tony Blair to decide when he steps down as prime minister, and pledged to support him.

The chancellor had been accused by some of Mr Blair's aides of orchestrating the resignations of eight junior government members yesterday in an effort to unseat him.

But speaking this afternoon, Mr Brown made clear that for all the internal squabbling -at least one meeting between the two men yesterday descended into a shouting match - he was not prepared to cut down the Labour leader in public.

"We are in a unique situation in our country where the prime minister has said that he does not want to lead our party and government into the next election. I, like others have had questions myself," he told reporters in Glasgow.


"But I want to make it absolutely clear today that when I met with prime minister yesterday I said to him that it is for him to make the decision and I said to him that I will support him whatever decision he makes."

Reports suggest Mr Brown has been pushing Mr Blair to announce his resignation before Christmas, despite several of the prime minister's aides suggesting he would remain until next summer.

Reports suggest Mr Brown has been pushing Mr Blair to announce his resignation before Christmas, but today the chancellor made clear there were no secret deals along the lines of the Granita pact, when he agreed not to stand for the Labour leadership in 1994.

"[A handover] will not be about private interests but what is in the best interests of our party and above all what is in the best interests of our country," he said.

And he added: "Tony Blair and I have worked together for 20 years. we share a determination, both of us, that we will advance and get down to the business of a Labour government and doing the best by the people of this country."

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