Brown tells party critics to shut up

GORDON Brown confronted his critics head on this afternoon, warning Labour rebels who want him to quit that the public would not forgive them for putting internal party wrangling ahead of helping people overcome the current economic downturn.

Graham Dines

GORDON Brown confronted his critics head on this afternoon, warning Labour rebels who want him to quit that the public would not forgive them for putting internal party wrangling ahead of helping people overcome the current economic downturn.

Speaking to Labour's conference in Manchester, he conceded that at times he could be “too serious” and acknowledged that he had fouled up over the 10p tax rate abolition.

In a barely disguised swipe at swipe at his predecessor Tony Blair, Mr Brown said: “I didn't come into politics to be a celebrity or thinking I'd always be popular. Perhaps that's just as well.


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“I'm not going to be someone I am not.”

The conference has been overshadowed at bickering over his leadership, as the Tories took a seemingly unassailable 26 point lead in the polls with scores of Labour MPs staring defeat in the face.

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In a move which bore all the hallmarks of having been orchestrated by Alastair Campbell, the Prime Minister was welcomed not by a party dignitary but by his wife Sarah.

She said her husband was “motivated to work in the interests of everyone all around the country.”

In his speech, Mr Brown said: “I want to give the people of this country an unconditional assurance - no ifs, no buts, no small print - my unwavering focus is on taking this country through the challenging economic circumstances we face and building the fair society of the future.”

Admitted the damage that had been done Labour by the debacle over the scrapping 10p rate of income tax, he said: “Where I've made mistakes I'll put my hand up and try to put them right.

“So what happened on 10p stung me because it really hurt that suddenly people felt I wasn't on the side of people on middle and modest incomes - because on the side of hard-working families is the only place I've ever wanted to be. And from now on it's the only place I ever will be.”

Mr Brown said his mission was to build a "fair society'' and achieve a "new settlement for new times''.

In a bitter attack on the Conservatives, and in particular millionaire shadow chancellor George Osborne, Mr Brown: “In the week the banks were collapsing, the man who wants to run our economy not only said ¬this is not a problem caused by the financial markets' but went on to say and I quote: “that's it's a function of financial markets that people make loads of money out of the misery of others.'

“Just imagine where we'd be if they'd (the Tories) been in a position to implement their beliefs - no rescue of Northern Rock, no action on speculation, no protection for mortgages, doing nothing to stop banks going under.

“What has become clear is that Britain cannot trust the Conservatives to run the economy.”

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