Britain's Brown shrugs off slump in polls

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LONDON, Oct 15 (Reuters) British Prime Minister Gordon Brown shrugged off a slump in his party's poll ratings and rumblings of discontent over his performance today, pledging to be ''resolute and determined'' in governing the country.

''You go up and down. You've just got to accept what happens in politics. I just want to get on with the job,'' Brown said after an opinion poll yesterday showed the opposition Conservatives opening a seven-point lead over his Labour Party.

''I'll continue to be resolute and determined in taking all the decisions that are necessary,'' he told the BBC.

Brown, who took over from Tony Blair in June, has just gone through the most bruising period of his short premiership.

Two weeks ago, Labour had an opinion poll lead of as much as 11 points and Brown was considering calling a snap election -- two and a half years before he needed to.

But a surge in the Conservatives' popularity after they presented new tax proposals led Brown to scrap any thought of an early election, opening himself up to a torrent of criticism from the media and the opposition.

The Conservatives, who have lost the last three elections to Labour, have accused Brown of pilfering their ideas and of using the same public relations ''spin'' that voters disliked in Blair.

Pledging to ''keep doing what I think is right by the country'', Brown said he would stand up for British national interests at a European Union summit this week that aims to finalise negotiations on a new EU treaty. Brown is resisting pressure to allow British voters a referendum on the treaty.

Brown also launched a new foreign policy initiative on Monday, saying he was prepared to offer economic help to Myanmar if it began moves towards democracy.

Appearing with children at an event to highlight child obesity, Brown was clearly determined to respond to calls from within the Labour Party to set out clearly his vision for Britain's future.

''My idea of Britain is a Britain where everybody has better chances than they've had to realise their potential,'' he told Sky News, pledging to focus on health, education and housing.

News reports said several leading supporters of Blair, who had a tense relationship with Brown, were prepared to speak out against the prime minister, accusing him of failing to set out a vision to reinvigorate the party.

Brown played down any conflict with Lord Falconer, a former cabinet minister and Blair ally, who said in an article for the Times website that Brown must spell out his vision for Britain.

Failure to do so would be to offer ''drift not leadership,'' Falconer wrote.

Brown said Falconer's message was the same as his own.

REUTERS RSA RN2115

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