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Gordon Brown To Step Down As British PM, As Coalition Negotiations Continue

Since the Conservative Party won the most MPs in the British elections last week, Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg has sought an alliance with the Tories in high-level talks. But Liberal Dem MPs have not fully endorsed the measure, seeking assurances that their key issues – many of which are at odds with the Conservatives – would get addressed in any power-sharing arrangement. Seeking the advantage, Labour has initiated talks with the Liberal Dems aimed at their own minority government coalition. And Labour leader Gordon Brown has added a new wrinkle to those negotiations by announcing that he will step down as Prime Minister.

• Gordon Brown is going to resign. He wants to stand down as Labour leader before the next Labour conference in the autumn. But he intends to remain as prime minister until then (if he can).

• Brown is proposing a “progressive” government, comprising Labour, the Lib Dems, and presumably the SNP, Plaid Cymru, the SDLP and the Alliance. Electoral reform would be a priority.

This obviously has the potential to blow up the Tory-Lib Dem talks. A new leader more to the liking of Clegg, one who could demand electoral reform and a referendum on proportional representation, which the Lib Dem MPs want as a condition of their support, could really change the scenarios in Britain.

The BBC has more on this development.

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David Dayen

David Dayen