Brown dismisses leadership criticism

Prime Minister Gordon Brown has dismissed claims that he would not be able to beat Conservative Party leader David Cameron in a general election, the BBC said Monday.

Brown dismisses leadership criticism
Brown -- who was only just embattled in a damaging party row and is now bracing for a predicted Labour battering in key local and London mayoral elections this week -- was responding to comments made over the weekend by Lord Michael Levy, a Labour Party fundraiser and close ally of former prime minister Tony Blair, who said Brown lacked leadership and was not up to the task.

Levy also said that Blair believed Brown could not beat Cameron, a claim that Blair was quick to deny.

Speaking to the BBC, Brown said "The issues ahead of us are more important than a few comments from one or two people."

Focusing on the troubled economy was more important than "gossip or rumour," Brown told the BBC.

Commenting on his forced concession over the scrapping of the lower 10 percent tax bracket following a Labour rebellion, Brown was quoted as saying by the BBC that the issue had now been dealt with.

He added: "But I think the background to the budget that people will probably remember most years from now is that we've reduced the basic rate of income tax from 22p to 20p, and we've done a lot more to help family poverty be eased."

Speaking ahead of the May 1 council elections, Brown told the BBC he believed he still "had the support of the British people".

Meanwhile, an ICM telephone survey of 1,010 adults for The Sunday Telegraph newspaper put the Conservatives on 39 percent, Labour on 29 percent and the Liberal Democrats on 20 percent, which would not be enough for the Tories to secure a majority in parliament's lower House of Commons.

However, a poll in the News of the World newspaper of the 145 key swing constituencies where the Conservatives came closest to beating Labour at the 2005 general election found the Tories would win 131 of them.

That would be enough to hand the Conservatives a comfortable 64-seat Commons majority at the next election, the ICM survey forecast.

Some 47 percent said Cameron would make the best prime minister, with 34 percent opting for Brown. Cameron came out best on seven out of eight hot topics.

Agencies
Last Mod: 28 Nisan 2008, 14:08
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