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I WON'T ROLL OVER; LABOUR'S FIGHTBACK CONFERENCE.

Byline: BOB ROBERTS

GORDON Brown came out fighting at the start of the Labour conference in Brighton yesterday saying he will never resign as PM.

As cabinet ministers warned Labour could be heading for a catastrophic election defeat, Mr Brown insisted the battles he has fought throughout his life have taught him to never to give up.

He said: "I, in my life, have had to fight for everything I've got. I have had to fight though all kinds of difficulties.

"A setback can either be a challenge or you can roll over. I do not roll over."

During an extraordinary TV interview Mr Brown was asked about rumours he is taking anti-depressant pills and painkillers to cope with the pressures - questions that provoked fury among Labour members.

But he insisted he was mentally and physically fit and ready to launch a fightback as the party gathered for its last annual conference before the general election. Cabinet minister Peter Hain warned at the weekend that Labour faces a really bad election defeat unless it raises its game. And Chancellor Alistair Darling said Labour had "lost the will to live".

But a passionate Mr Brown made it clear that the fight is far from over. He added: "Leadership is fighting for what you believe in.

"It is the strength to take the tough decisions through difficult times. The strength I believe I have been able to show over the last year on the big decisions.

"It means being sure about what you believe - which I am - and being sure also that you have the strength to get up in the morning and take the job on and move it forward.'" Asked if he ever doubted whether he was the right man to lead Labour and the country, Mr Brown responded: "Of course, you say 'Some people think someone else could do the job better.' I have got to consider that.

"But I don't have doubts because I have started doing something very difficult.

"I have started trying, in the interests of British jobs and British people and the security of British families, to make the world economy work for people.

"I have led the way round the world, spent night after day persuading my colleagues around the world of the action that is necessary. We are now coming out of the recession as a result of the actions that we have taken.

"I have no doubt that what I am doing is the right thing to take us through all this."

In the BBC interview, presenter Andrew Marr said he wanted to ask about the rumours of ill-health - something that he claimed everybody in the "Westminster village" was talking about.

He added: "A lot of people in this country use prescription painkillers and pills to help them get through.

Are you one of those people?" The Prime Minister replied: "No. I think this is the sort of questioning which is all too often entering the lexicon of British politics." He also denied his sight is deteriorating - something he was asked about last week on US TV.

And when Marr asked again about pills, a clearly angry Mr Brown snapped: "I've already answered that question."

The line of questioning angered Labour chiefs. One said: "It was outrageous, completely out of order. Is the BBC really basing questions on internet rumours put around by a couple of people?" Schools Secretary Ed Balls said: "To be honest I think it was a bit unworthy and, based on the conversations I've had, I think it is absolute rubbish." Business Secretary Peter Mandelson later said Labour must make sure that other party leaders were subjected to "the same degree of personal intrusiveness that we saw the Prime Minister receive from Andrew Marr this morning".

Internet rumours claim Mr Brown is taking mono amine oxidase inhibitors - an alternative to Prozac.

It is based on claims he has asked not to be served red wine and cheese at official dinners. Both cause side-effects if taken with the drug.

An ICM poll has found 59% of voters think Labour had a good or slim chance of winning the next election with Gordon Brown as leader.

Voice of Mirror: Page 8

WHAT GORD NEEDS TO DO

By KEVIN BARRON, Labour MP for Rother Valley

"We must keep supporting the economy. We also need to maintain levels of expenditure on the public services. In my constituency there are three schools ready to be built and I want to see that happen."

WHAT GORD NEEDS TO DO

By DAVE PRENTIS, UNISON general secretary

"Gordon needs to show he's on the same side of the street as ordinary people. Because people want to know they'll be looked after as well as the bankers were. Cutting the vital public services we all rely on would be a great vote loser."

QUOTE OF THE DAY

"I DO not roll over." - A resilient Gordon Brown shows he's up for the fight.

JOKE OF THE DAY

"I KNOW that we are in difficulty now. We have temporarily mislaid that magic recipe for blending the mushy peas of old Labour with the guacamole of new Labour" - Welsh First Minister Rhodri Morgan.

DIEHARD LOYALIST

ED Balls declares he's "loyal to the party, loyal to the Cabinet" and "that for me comes before anything else".

REBEL REBEL

PETER Hain warns Labour faces a "really bad defeat" unless it raises its game.

WHISPER

THE autumn sunshine in Brighton has brought out some strangely dressed MPs.

Health Secretary Andy Burnham was spotted wearing brown shoes with a blue suit while Helen Goodman MP was dressed in a purple, orange and pink ensemble.

GAFFE OF THE DAY

FORMER home office minister Tony McNulty restokes expenses row by refusing to apologise for claiming second home allowance by staying at parents' house.

"I'm not sorry," he says.

ON THE UP

ED Miliband wows conference with energetic and passionate speech.

ON THE SLIDE

ED Balls and Andy Burnham and rest of MPs' football team lose 5-1 in match with the press.

..AND TOMORROW

ALISTAIR Darling headlines as conference debates the economy.

Lord Mandelson and Yvette Cooper also give speeches.

CAPTION(S):

SUPPORT Gordon Brown holds hand of wife Sarah yesterday WAR OF WORDS Mr Brown speaks in Brighton yesterday WE LOVE BREW Greeting sign in Brighton
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Sep 28, 2009
Words:1050
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