Peter Hoskin

Brown’s press conference - live blog | 5 June 2009

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Brown will be speaking to the press at 1630.  Stay tuned for live coverage:

1609, JGF: There is a strong rumour doing the rounds that the Telegraph are doing another piece on Brown’s expenses. This will make life even more difficult for him.

1612, PH: Just to catch up, Ian Gibson has resigned as an MP - triggering a by-election which you imagine Labour will struggle to win.

1635, PH: Still no Brown.  You'll can watch it here, by the way.

1639, PH:
While we're waiting, the latest news is that Tony McNulty is to step down from Government.  No great surprise given his expenses situation.

1647, PH: Brown's on in a minute, appararently.

1648, PH: Here's Brown now.  He starts saying that he's going to be "totally candid."  Don't laugh.  He continues to say that the elections have been a "painful defeat" for Labour.

1650, PH: Now he's setting out his "way forward": to 1) clean-up politics; b) get the country out of recession, and c) reform public services.

1651, PH: There's the first "do nothing" jibe of the afternoon.  And now Brown's talking about three councils that will report to Government - the one to renew our democracy; a new one for "domestic policy" (did I hear that right?); and the pre-existing national economic council.  So: more committees.

1653, PH: Brown's sounding unapologetic, saying that he "will not waver" and "will get on with the job".

1654, PH: There's the dig at James Purnell.  Brown says that he doesn't seek the "limelight," and puts the country before himself or "even the Party".

1656, PH: Nick Robinson is pushing Brown on whether he's actually being candid.  Brown stands depressingly firm: "The task facing the country is so big that we've got to get on with the job."

1657, PH: PoliticsHome have the full Cabinet list here.

1658, PH: Adam Boulton (who seems to have been live on Sky for 2 days solid - quite heroic) asks Brown whether the new Cabinet can really be called an improvement.  Brown: "We have chosen very talented people who have a determination to serve the country"

1659, PH: Brown denies that he wanted to sack Darling.  Says that the Chancellor is "internationally acclaimed".  Hm.

1701, PH: Brown's going to regret saying that he wants to be "candid".  Every journo seems to be bringing it up, pointing out - quite rightly - that Brown is being far from candid.

1702, PH:
Brown praises John Hutton.

1703, PH: Brown "apologises" for Parliament's inability to deal with expenses sooner.  But adds that he is the "right person" to clean-up politics - "because of my background..."

1704, PH: Here's the main message: "Nobody walks away when you're in trouble."  Brown adds that he hasn't thought about standing down, but that he's "not arrogant".

1705, PH: Oh dear.  More of the Prestbyterian stuff.  "When I look at the expenses crisi, I remember the words of my father..."

1706, PH: If you're playing Brownism bingo, there's "gentlemen's club".

1707, PH: CAROLINE FLINT HAS QUIT GOVERNMENT.

1708, PH: Brown's constant refrain: "You don't walk away."  I'm not sure whether all this is defiant or deluded.

1709, PH: And more: "You don't walk away ... you finish the job."

1711, PH: Brown confirms that Caroline Flint has been replaced by Glenys Kinnock - who will be appointed to the House of Lords.  Can you elect anyone in government nowadays?

1712, PH: This is shameless: "I think what people are saying is 'Get us through this recession'"  Erm, polls suggest that people are saying: "Give us an election, and then someone else can get us through the recession."

1714, PH: Brown says that apppointing people through the House of Lords (a la Mandelson, Sugar et al) is "good for politics".  Doesn't quite chime with his talk of bringing "power to the people," does it?  He says that he might use the same technique in future.

1715, PH: Brown says that Mandelson has an "enhanced role," given his "contribution" in helping business.

1717, PH: Brown relates the appointment of Alan Sugar to having Lord Darzi - a surgeon - help out on health.  He says that "more businessmen" should be able to get involved in government.

1718, PH: Brown: "All my life, I've won quite a lot."

1719, PH: Now he says that when he meets the PLP, on Monday, he will tell them that Labour can win the next election.

1720, PH:
Brown's on a bit of a "investment vs cuts" rant - "We are the party which will invest in the future."

1722, PH: Brown declines to say whether this has been a good or bad day for his premiership.  "People care about the policies," he reassures us.

1724, PH: Fraser's asking about the cuts hidden away in the Budget.  Brown says that "public spending is rising every year".  Brown says that Fraser should aim the question at the Tories.  Fraser - rightly - doesn't accept it, pointing out that this is a matter of "national importance".  Brown looks a whiter shade of pale, and waves the question away.  This really does make the blood boil - Brown kicked off saying he would be "candid," though he's anything but.  This press conference is little more than one grand hypocrisy.

1727, PH: And that's it.