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Gordon Brown survives dissolution vote

The Prime Minister faced a motion of dissolution which, if passed, would have disbanded Parliament and led to a public vote.

Gordon Brown survives dissolution vote

Gordon Brown has survived an attempt by the SNP to force a General Election.

The Prime Minister faced a motion of dissolution which, if passed, would have disbanded Parliament and led to a public vote.

After heated exchanges in the House of Commons, the motion was defeated 340 to 268.

SNP Westminster leader Angus Robertson had led the debate, at which First Minister Alex Salmond was present.

Mr Robertson called on an absent Mr Brown to come before the Commons and respond in person to the opposition day debate called by the nationalist parties.

He said: "Gordon Brown's government has lost all authority to govern and he needs to come to Parliament and respond to this debate. The expenses scandal has discredited Parliament, while Labour's European election results show Gordon Brown's Government is without authority or credibility.

"We need a general election so that we can restore trust and confidence in parliament and politicians, and let people have their say.”

However, his calls were rejected by Welsh Secretary Peter Hain. He claimed the SNP had a hidden agenda of wanting to see a Conservative government installed in Westminster, which would inflict "mass unemployment, education cuts and hospital closures" on Scotland, "so they could try to ride a wave of revulsion into independence".

To dissolve Parliament would be to "walk away" from the challenge of reforming Westminster's politics and to "turn our backs on the British people" at a time of economic need.

He acknowledged that last week's elections were "terrible for the Labour Party. "But far more significant, the European elections were an alarm call for all parties, all of us here and for parliamentary democracy itself."

An election now would simply be another referendum on MPs' expenses, he claimed. The economy would also face "weeks and weeks of instability and uncertainty" if an election was called.

In an echo of Lady’s Thatcher, he told the Commons: "They can dissolve if they want to. This Government is not for dissolving.”

Conservative shadow foreign secretary William Hague backed the call for dissolution and acknowledged the economic and political problems facing the country.

Mr Hague mocked the Prime Minister's claim that a General Election would cause "chaos" in the country. He said: "This revealing insight into the bunker-like mentality of 10 Downing Street is in itself a further argument for the people of this country to have their say.

"The Prime Minister feared chaos at the ballot box, presumably in place of the well-ordered conduct of government that we have been able to witness in recent weeks.

"The home secretary resigned on Tuesday, the communities secretary on Wednesday, the work and pensions secretary on Thursday, Downing Street worked for 48 hours through the night to save the Prime Minister from being overthrown by his own Cabinet.

"What a relief there was no chaos in the last couple of weeks in this country."

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