Page last updated at 21:05 GMT, Wednesday, 8 October 2008 22:05 UK

Brown makes light of bank worries

The prime minister raises a laugh with a quip about a bank failing

He might be facing the worst economic crisis for almost 80 years, but the prime minister has shown he can still manage a joke.

When Gordon Brown, hit by financial problems, heard a mobile phone ring during a speech, he quipped: "I don't know if another bank has fallen."

For good measure, he added: "You'll be pleased I'll not be giving financial information this evening."

The government has announced up to 400bn extra for the banking sector.

Power lists

Earlier on Wednesday, Mr Brown said this plan was "designed to put the British banking system on a sounder footing".

Altogether more relaxed, he made his joke later at a dinner for the launch of the Powerlist 2008, a celebration of the country's most successful black people, including lawyers, politicians, businessmen and sportsmen.

Mr Brown, beset recently by talk of Labour leadership plots, continued the light-hearted tone, saying: "I've not often, as you will understand, been on power lists particularly in the last year."

The audience of 300 people, gathered at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, reportedly responded well to the jokes.

Mr Brown added that the first power list on which he had been included was compiled was in the 1980s.

He had been at number four, ahead of Neil Kinnock and John Smith but behind Hilary Benn, Ed Balls and Douglas Alexander.

Mr Brown said he had later discovered the list was alphabetical.

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