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Brown promises expense reform

BRITISH Prime Minister Gordon Brown promised radical reform of the political system after disclosures of lawmakers' perks sent his Labour party crashing to an historic low in opinion polls.

The ruling Labour party faces a difficult test in local and European elections this week and speculation is mounting over Brown's political future.

Two weekend polls suggested Labour could slip to third place in Thursday's European Parliament election.

Brown said he planned to introduce a binding code of conduct for politicians, who would be punished if they were found to have abused the system of parliamentary allowances.

Support for Brown's government has crumbled after weeks of reports about lawmakers claiming public money for anything from swimming pools to tennis court repairs. Although politicians from all major parties have been involved, Labour appears to be bearing the brunt of voters' anger.

A ICM poll in the Sunday Telegraph found only 17 percent of voters planned to vote Labour in Thursday's European election, behind the Conservatives' 29 percent and the Liberal Democrats' 20 percent.

Brown was adamant he would not stand down to make way for a potentially more popular successor from within his party. He also refused to be drawn on whether he would reshuffle key ministerial posts after next Thursday's European election.


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