Page last updated at 18:55 GMT, Wednesday, 14 April 2010 19:55 UK

Brown admits he made a mistake over bank regulation

Gordon Brown: ''I have been saying since the crisis started that we didn't have enough global regulation''

Gordon Brown has admitted he made a mistake in not introducing tougher bank regulation when he was chancellor.

The PM, chancellor from 1997 to 2007, said that in the 1990s the banks had all been calling for less regulation.

"And actually the truth is that globally and nationally we should have been regulating them more," he said in an interview on ITV1's Tonight.

The Conservatives said Mr Brown had made a "big mistake", while the Lib Dems said his words were "not enough".

The prime minister said he should have put the "whole public interest" before the banks but had "learnt" from the experience.


Mr Brown said: "In the 1990s, the banks, they all came to us and said, 'Look, we don't want to be regulated, we want to be free of regulation'."

"All the complaints I was getting from people was, 'Look you're regulating them too much'. And actually the truth is that globally and nationally we should have been regulating them more," he added.

"So I've learnt from that. So you don't listen to the industry when they say, 'This is good for us'. You've got to talk about the whole public interest."

Every time you make a decision about troop deployments with generals, you've got to bear in mind that these are decisions about people's lives
Gordon Brown

Schools Secretary Ed Balls, who worked with Gordon Brown when he was chancellor, said both had previously admitted they should have done more to control the financial sector.

At Labour's morning press conference he said: "In retrospect we should have been tougher with some of the investment banks which did not know the risks they were running. This was a problem for governments around the world."

Business Secretary Lord Mandelson added: "Regulation should have been more intrusive and the regulatory practice of the FSA [Financial Services Authority] should have kept pace with the fast-changing developments in the financial services sector."

Gordon Brown's previous admission in September 2009 about banking regulation

BBC political correspondent Laura Kuenssberg said although the prime minister has previously said, in an interview with the BBC's Andrew Marr in September 2009, that regulation should have been tougher around the world - this time he has been more explicit about the role it should have taken in the UK.

Conservative leader David Cameron said: "This is a big moment because Gordon Brown told us two things: he said this all came from America and he said his judgment was right in every regard.

"He is now saying that those two things are not true, that there were big mistakes made here in Britain in the regulatory system that he designed. And I'm glad that he's finally admitted that some of this was made in Britain, by him."

Lib Dem Treasury spokesman Vince Cable said: "It's not enough just to hold your hands up and say sorry without having a plan for making sure that the same thing doesn't happen again."

Mr Brown also admitted, as he has done previously, that the decision to scrap the 10 pence rate of tax had been a mistake.

He said: "I've learnt a lot from that, I learn all the time."

But the prime minister said it is the situation in Afghanistan that keeps him awake at night.

He told ITV: "I've been very worried about what's happening in Afghanistan because we've got to make very difficult decisions and every time you make a decision about troop deployments with generals, you've got to bear in mind that these are decisions about people's lives."

Mr Brown also again denied that he was a bully, saying he hoped he did not intimidate people.

"I hope I'm not intimidating, I hope I am the opposite, I hope I am willing to listen and willing to learn. And then I'll go back and I'll make up my mind and say 'this is what we do now'."

Mr Brown added: "I think I'd like people to know that I was compassionate, because I do feel strongly about children in particular... I'd like to be known as a children's champion."

But he also acknowledged that he is "not so good" at the PR side of politics.

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