Leading NRI industrialist Lord Swraj Paul today described as “very heartening” British Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s speech at the Labour Party conference, saying it was a “honest assessment” of what needs to be done to the recession-hit country.

“It was a very heartening speech which gives direction to the country he planned to take instead of the Opposition spin. It was a honest assessment of what needs to be done,” Lord Paul, Deputy Speaker of the House of Lords, said.

Lord Paul, also the member of the Queen’s Privy Council, said “the Prime Minister dealt with every issue concerning the country at this moment and it was comprehensive.”

In his speech at the party conference yesterday, Mr. Brown pinned his hopes of political survival on an appeal to the “squeezed middle classes”, insisting that he would stand up for their values.

During his hour-long speech, Mr. Brown urged Labour to “change the world again” and also pledged to curb excesses in the financial markets.

“We can do all these things and more if we think big and then fight hard,” Mr. Brown said.

UK media sceptical

However, the British media, by and large, was sceptical of Mr. Brown leading the Labour party to victory in the next year’s general election.

Largely circulated tabloid The Sun came out with a headline saying “Labour’s Lost It” and announced that it was switching its support to opposition Conservatives.

“After 12 long years in power, this Government has lost its way. Now it’s lost The Sun’s support too,” it said.

Noting that it is “Time for Change”, the tabloid said the Prime Minister said it 41 times in his speech, and “we agree... so we’re backing Tories.”

The Times in its editorial said the Prime Minister had the chance to make a strong economic argument and claim vindication, but his speech failed to rise to the challenge.

The Daily Telegraph in its editorial said “rarely has a Prime Minister addressed a party conference from a weaker position than did Gordon Brown yesterday.”

“There was no new thinking at work here; it was business as usual. And while it is desperately difficult for a party in power for so long to re-invent itself, the impression given by Brown yesterday is that Labour is not even trying,” it said.

In a comment, The Guardian said “Gordon Brown yesterday ditched many of the old doctrines. But the party still can’t decide what worked and what failed.”

“The age of New Labour is over. The only question is what will survive.”

Opinion polls have suggested that the ruling Labour Party may lose power for the first time since 1997.

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