Gordon Brown to be next PM of Britain

London, May 17 (IANS) Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown is all set to become the next prime minister of Britain after winning an uncontested race for nomination Thursday.

An expected contest for the leadership of Britain’s ruling Labour Party turned into a virtual coronation Thursday with Brown emerging as the only candidate.

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As nominations for leadership closed at 1245 GMT, the unchallenged Brown was confirmed as the next Labour leader and successor to Tony Blair as the next prime minister of Britain.

Brown won 313 nominations of the 353 Labour Members of Parliament, and his last challenger, left-wing MP John McDonnell, failed to enlist the minimum support of 45 MPs needed to ensure a contest. McDonnell withdrew, pointing out that it would be “mathematically impossible” for him to launch a challenge.

Brown will be officially named Labour leader at a special conference in Manchester on 24 June.

Three days later, Blair is scheduled to meet Queen Elizabeth II and resign as prime minister, handing over his seals of office. Brown will then call on the Queen who will invite him to form a government and receive the seals of office.

At that moment, Brown will become the 13th post-War prime minister of Britain.

However, Brown’s uncontested passage into 10 Downing Street – the prime minister’s residence – prompted calls for elections from the opposition Tory Party and Liberal Democrats.

Liberal Democrat leader Menzies Campbell said: “As Mr Brown will not face a challenger, it is all the more important that there should be a general election now. The country is surely entitled to pass judgement on whether he should become the most powerful politician in the country.

“A coronation is good neither for Labour nor Britain. It is no way to install a prime minister…”

Conservative leader David Cameron said Blair’s successor would have no mandate to lead the country since the prime minister had contested the 2005 elections promising to serve a full third term as prime minister.

The media added its voice.

The Independent commented Thursday: “In the event of a contest, there would have been a reason for Tony Blair to stay on as Prime Minister until a new leader had been formally chosen. But that reason has disappeared.

“Rather than waiting until 27 June to make the trip from Downing Street to Buckingham Palace to hand in his resignation, Mr Blair should hand over power to Mr Brown immediately”.