Gordon Brown’s resignation statement

Read Gordon Brown’s resignation statement, in which he commits to quitting the Labour party leadership by the autumn:

“We have a parliamentary and not a presidential system in this country. As I said on Friday if no party is able to command a parliamentary majority… my constitutional duty as prime minister is to ensure that government continues while parties explore options…

“As we know the Liberal Democrats felt they should first talk to the Conservative party. Mr Clegg has just informed me that while he intends to continue his dialogue that he has begun with the Conservatives, he now also wishes to take forward formal discussions with the Labour party. I believe it’s sensible and in the national interest to respond positively. The Cabinet will meet soon. A formal policy negotiating process is being established under the arrangements made by the Cabinet secretary.

“The first priority should be an agreed deficit reduction plan to support economic growth and a return to full employment. I know both parties recognise the importance of ensuring economic stability in the markets and protecting Britain’s standing. And both are agreed on the need for a strong and full deficit reduction plan…

“There is also a progressive majority in Britain and I believe it could be in the interests of the whole country to form a progressive coalition government. Only such a progressive government could meet the demands for political and electoral change which the British people made last Thursday. Our commitments for an new voting system for the Commons and a new election for the House of Lords are clearly part of this.

“I would like to say something also about my own position.

“If it becomes clear that the national interest which is stable and principled government can be best served by forming a coalition between the Labour party and the Liberal democrats, then I believe I should discharge that duty to form that government which would in my view command a majority in the House of Commons in the Queen’s Speech and any other confidence votes. But 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.

“The reason that we have a hung parliament is that no single party and no single leader was able to win the full support of the country. As leader of my party I must accept that that is a judgement on me.

“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…

“I believe on Thursday the country was also telling us they want a new politics and the political reforms we seek will help deliver that change. I now intend to facilitate the discussions that the Liberal Democrats will ask for.