Brown rejects calls to apologise for recession

Gordon Brown has rejected calls from close allies to apologise for playing any part in triggering Britain's slide into recession when he addresses the two Houses of Congress today.

The Prime Minister’s stance puts him at odds with the Chancellor Alistair Darling, who has privately urged him to admit a share of the blame. Mr Darling said yesterday that the Government and City regulators should accept "our collective responsibility" and to show "humility" about the mistakes made.

Some Cabinet ministers and Brown aides have been arguing that if Mr Brown admitted some responsibility for the banks crisis, coupled with an apology, he would win plaudits from the public and support for his financial rescue plan.

But the Prime Minister has strongly rejected their advice, insisting he has no reason to deliver a public mea culpa as the seeds of the Britain's economic crisis were sown in the sub-prime mortgage market in the United States.

The Chancellor's intervention in a newspaper interview could revive tensions between him and the Prime Minister. Mr Brown was angry last September when Mr Darling's remarks that Britain faced its worst downturn for "arguably 60 years" overshadowed his autumn fightback.

Other ministers are showing more contrition than Mr Brown. The Schools Secretary Ed Balls, his former chief economic adviser, said that "in retrospect, it is clear we were nowhere near tough enough" on regulating the City.

John Kingman, a senior Treasury official who chaired the joint Treasury, Bank of England and Financial Services Authority committee set up by Mr Brown in 1997, conceded yesterday the system had not been a "full success." He told MPs: "I am certainly not going to say that the Tripartite successfully identified every problem that might arise. It clearly did not. I would say it achieved a lot. Was it a full success? Plainly not."

David Cameron, the Tory leader, has repeatedly asked Mr Brown to apologise for mistakes when he was both Chancellor and Prime Minister. He also faced a series of similar challenges from journalists at his monthly press conference.

Mr Brown insists he can say sorry - pointing to his admission that the abolition of the 10p rate of income tax was a mistake - but maintains that he has no cause to make a similar apology over the cause of the recession. He believes he would be playing into the hands of journalists and footage of him saying sorry would be played endlessly on television.

Mr Brown will use today's speech to Congress to deliver a plea against protectionism, arguing that it is in the long-term interests of the US economy to build strong export markets abroad.

Yesterday the Prime Minister refused to predict when worldwide economic growth would resume. But he predicted recovery would return "with some speed" if the world's leading industrial nations worked together to instill new confidence in the banking system.

He told a US radio station that countries from Europe to China to "our friends" in America shared a "general understanding"that nations needed to act together to produce a "fiscal stimulus for the world economy", and to sideline countries that failed to regulate their banking systems adequately.

As the calls for an apology mount, Mr Brown has told friends that this recession is unlike previous downturns which were domestic in origin, caused by governments which allowed inflation to run out of control.

Although he admits that regulation of the banking system was inadequate, he believes there was a similar weakness throughout the West.

He also denies that British levels of indebtedness rose any higher than other industrialised nations and argues that the housing boom was stoked by shortages of homes rather than generous mortgage deals. He dismisses suggestions that high levels of public spending contributed to the crash.

The Prime Minister insists that restoring confidence to the public - many of whom have more cash in their pockets as a result of interest rate cuts - is the key to finding a route of recession.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
News
peopleComedian launches stinging attack on PM
Life and Style
The collection displayed Versace’s softer side, with models wearing flowers and chiffon dresses in unusual colourings
fashionVersace haute couture review
News
Andy Murray shakes hands after defeating Andreas Seppi of Italy in the third round of Wimbledon, Saturday 4 July, 2015
Wimbledon
Arts and Entertainment
'The Leaf'
artYes, it's a leaf, but a potentially very expensive one
News
Yoko Ono at the Royal Festival Hall for Double Fantasy Live
people'I wont let him destroy memory of John Lennon or The Beatles'
News
Could Greece leave the EU?
news
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Home Care / Support Workers

£7 - £10 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This care provider is looking for Home ...

Recruitment Genius: Web Team Leader

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's leading web des...

Recruitment Genius: Client Manager

£27000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A growing, successful, friendly...

Recruitment Genius: Property Negotiator - OTE £20,000+

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This family owned, independent ...

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'