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Brown 'depressed' over gaffe

BRITISH Prime Minister Gordon Brown made a slip of the tongue yesterday when suggesting the world is in the midst of a depression, his spokesman said.

During rowdy exchanges in the weekly Prime Minister's questions, Brown told law makers that "we should agree, as a world, on a monetary and fiscal stimulus that will take the world out of depression."

A Downing Street spokeswoman said the slip "was not deliberate, and is not what he thinks." Though there is no standard definition of what a depression is, most economists think that a recession - a normal downturn in the business cycle - becomes a depression when output contracts over a long period of time and by over 10 percent.

The Conservative Party's spokesman for economic matters George Osborne swiftly demanded clarification of the Prime Minister's comment.

"The Prime Minister must personally and urgently clarify whether his statement today that the world is in 'depression' was a slip of the tongue, or whether he knows something that we don't know," he said outside Parliament.

Statistics have already shown that Britain is confronting its worst recession since 1980, with the economy shrinking 1.5 percent in the fourth quarter. Forecasters have also indicated that Britain will likely contract more in 2009.


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