Peter Hoskin

Brown’s press conference: live blog | 18 February 2009

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Stay tuned for live coverage of Brown's press conference from 1200 onwards.  You can watch proceedings here.

1209: Brown's taking his time.  Still no sign...

1213: Here's Brown now, striding to the lecturn. Expect much ado about bonuses.

1213: He's just come from meeting the heads of the IMF and World Bank.  Leads off saying that the government's priority is "looking after hard working families".

1214: Roll call of world leaders he's meeting: "I thinking we're fashioning a global solution".

1215: This may not be PMQs, but it sounds quite similar so far.  Plenty of talk about the government's "real action".  No bashing of the "do nothing" Tories, though...

1215: "What we need is the world to work together"

1217: "We know we need a more transparent regulatory system ... but it will not be enough if one country alone does that."  The "global" addendum seems designed to deflect criticism of Brown's tripartite regulatory system.  He doesn't want people thinking that hasn't worked...

1218: Questions now. Sky's Jon Craig kicks off asking whether Brown has plans to visit Obama to discuss the G20 summit. And also pushes Brown on whether he's considering an IMF lifeboat or whether the rumours are down to Harriet Harman.

1220: Brown says that he won't announce visits to America yet.  On the "lifeboat", he says there's no job called "global financial regulator" and he's determined to tackle the downtunr in Britain. No word on Harman.

1221: Jo Coburn asks if the British regulatory system has failed, and - if so - is Brown the best man to put forward a global solution?  Brown responds saying that he's been calling for a new global regulatory system for 10 years. Then adds: "Our regulatory system has been one of the best, but it is not good enough for our everchanging world".  Wonder whether that "not good enough" line will be seized upon by the Tories?

1225: Brown sets out his 4 principles for bankers' bonuses in future: 1) No reward for failure, 2) No short-term culture, 3) Opportunity for clawbacks, 4) Regulators must have a say.

1227: A journo, whose name I didn't catch, asks Brown how the world can trust him when the British banking system is in a mess.  Also asks about civil liberties in Britain.

1229: Brown on the Binyam Mohammad case: "I assure you we've done everything by the law"

1229: Bob Roberts from the Mirror: "Are we now at the bottom of the trough, waiting for things to pick up."  Brown responds with what is becoming his new mantra/get-out clause: "It depends on global action..."

1231: Pressed on the apology issue, Brown says: "I've said sorry when things have gone wrong, such as with the 10p rate ... but now I'd have to be saying sorry if the banks had actually collapsed."  Has that put a line through the apology strategy?

1234: Brown really is pushing the "global cooperation" line.  More on the need for an international solution.

1236: Brown: "If you look at what we're doing this year, public investment is at about £44 billion.  During the last global downturn it was around £10-15 billion, so we're doing much more."

1238: Brown: "We are now working with the Americans looking at not just Afghanistan but also at the relationship between Afghanistan and Pakistan."  He won't be drawn, though, on what any UK commitment to the new surge in Afghanistan, nor on whether we need to talk with the Taliban.

1241: Brown's asked about how the media covers politics in the UK, and whether he gets a fair press.  The PM responds that "politics has to find new ways [e.g. new technology] ... to engage in the debate."

1243: Again, Brown's stressing that "there's been a need to change the global regulatory system", adding that "his regret" is that he couldn't convince people of this after the Asian crisis. Hm, funny that he ignored early warning signals from international bodies, then - such as when the IMF raised concern about our budget deficits.

1247: Brown: "Any attacks of an antisemitic nature are absolutely deplorable, and I'm aware that there's been a rise in these attack over the past few weeks." Doesn't comment on Durban II, or whether Britain will boycott it, depite being pushed on the matter.

1251: Brown: "The car industry is vitally important to this country, and we will do everything we can..."

1252: Brown on possible discussions with Iran: "We want Iran to be part of the international community ... but not on a basis of it not agreeing to non-proliferation, and if it creates a nuclear weapon"

1252: Asked whether he's going to cap his own pay, and that of civil servants, Brown repsonds that certain senoir civil servants won't be getting bonuses this year.

1257: Brown: "I'm not going to go to Italy and criticise Berlusconi ... I want to talk with him."

1257: Brown gets shirty over a question on the leadership rumours coming out of Cabinet: "Trust the Daily Express, when we're trying to launch a plan for global recovery, all you're concerned with is idle gossip..."  Adds a bit of spark to what's been a drab presser, so far.

1300: Brown: "[Construction companies] should give chances to local people to get jobs on these construction projects." One senses that the BJ4BW mantra will continue to haunt our PM...

1302: "We want good relations with Russia," says the PM.  Striking how quickly the rhetoric has been ratcheted down after the Georgia crisis last year.

1303: Good question. Brown's pushed on whether he has greater regrets than he's let on over the British regulatory system - particularly in light of the FSA chief's admission that they hadn't spotted the flaws in the HBOS model.  Aside from references to the global situation, there are some admissions in the PM's repsonse - he says that out system was "probably too pro-cyclical".  Quickly gets back onto saying that the "biggest failure" has been the   lack of a "proper international regulatory system". 

1307: Brown has his first dig at the Tories, claiming that they were calling for him to "deregulate".  Will that attack really stick after the Crosby fiasco etc.?

1309: Funny, Brown's now distancing himself from the Lloyds-HBOS merger - claiming that the two companies did all the running.  Slightly different to the noises coming out of Downing Street last year...

1311: Brown refuses to comment on the Japanese finance minister's "personal decision" to resign for cough syrup related reasons.

1313: Brown says that he hopes Chinese "trade missions" to Britain will help increase British exports to China by 50 percent.  I always think it's odd when politicians slap numbers on things that will/should be determined by the markets. 

1315: And, over an hour later, that's it.  Quite a slog.  Perhaps the most noteworthy point is how much Brown's pushing the "need for international coordination".  I figure he's trying to talk up the importance of April's G20 summit, and his role in it, while also deflecting blame for problems here in Britain.  All makes an apology that little bit more unlikely...