Tributes for Brown as Cameron becomes PM

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Britain’s incoming Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife Samantha meet Cabinet Secretary Gus O’Donnell (R) after entering 10 Downing Street in London May 11, 2010.

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GORDON BROWN’S resignation as prime minister of Britain has brought the curtain down on 13 years of Labour rule.

Standing alongside his wife, Sarah, outside No 10 Downing St, he said the job had been “a privilege” and wished his successor, Tory leader David Cameron, well. Mr Brown, who will remain as a backbench MP, said he had taken the decision to resign when it became obvious he would not be able to form a government in the wake of the general election.

He said he had “loved the job”, which he held for three years, and it had been “a privilege to serve”.

After his Downing Street address he travelled to Buckingham Palace with his wife and two children where he formally tendered his resignation to Queen Elizabeth II. Last night, Taoiseach Brian Cowen said Brown had been a good friend to Ireland.

“He (Brown) showed his commitment to peace in Northern Ireland and to positive British-Irish relations in his extraordinary personal contribution to the talks that led to the Hillsborough agreement earlier this year. He has also provided strong and insightful international leadership in the global economic crisis and in the fight against poverty and disease around the world.”

The Taoiseach wished him well for the future and said he looked forward to working with his successor, Conservative leader David Cameron. “I look forward to meeting with him (Cameron) to discuss future relations between Ireland and Britain, in all their dimensions, to build on the great achievements of the peace process in Northern Ireland and to help tackle the enormous challenges now faced by Europe and the world.”

Mr Cameron, 43, a former public relations executive whose party won the most seats and votes in last Thursday’s election but failed to secure an outright majority, has become Britain’s youngest prime minister in almost 200 years.

As Mr Cameron ties up the loose ends of a deal with the Liberal Democrats, Britain is preparing itself for the first coalition government in 70 years.

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams said “it is important to acknowledge the contribution which the Labour governments of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown made to the development of the Irish peace process.

“Tony Blair’s contribution to the establishment of inclusive talks and the Good Friday Agreement they delivered was significant. Likewise Gordon Brown’s contribution at Hillsborough earlier this year. I wish him well,” he said.