22 Sep 2008

British PM pledges action on economy

9:43 pm on 22 September 2008

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown came out fighting at the Labour Party conference, pledging "whatever it takes" to tackle the economic crisis despite a festering rebellion against him.

Mr Brown went into the annual convention, in Manchester, dogged by questions about how long he could keep the job he took over from Tony Blair 15 months ago after a string of resignations in protest at his leadership.

But as the five-day conference began Mr Brown delivered an unscripted speech highlighting his economic pedigree and urging his party to focus "all our energies" on the business of government.

The speech, which drew a standing ovation, will be seen as a defiant message to rebels days after four MPs who spoke out against Mr Brown were forced out of their jobs and 12 declared their support for a leadership contest.

"When people ask what we will do to sort out the financial system... I tell you in three words - whatever it takes," Mr Brown, who was Mr Blair's finance minister for 10 years, said during a question-and-answer session.

"All our efforts, all our undivided efforts, all our energies, all our determination, all our efforts (should be) to do what this party knows it does best and that is to serve all the people of this country."

About 15,000 people are attending the conference, which runs to Wednesday.