Bank of England prints 26bln pounds to ‘save’ Northern Rock

LONDON (AFP) – British Prime Minister Gordon Brown defended on Monday his decision to nationalise troubled lender Northern Rock in the face of fierce criticism and questions over his reputation for economic competence. “It gives the bank a period of stability and a chance to pull back from some of the forces that have buffetted it in previous months,” Sandler said. After the first British nationalisation since the 1970s was announced Sunday, Brown said the government plans to return the bank to the private sector “as soon as possible.”

But pressure mounted on finance minister Alistair Darling as the main opposition Conservative Party called on him to be sacked for his role.

Shares in Northern Rock were suspended Monday as the group, which has been devastated by the squeeze on global credit, said it would enter temporary public ownership in the coming days.

“When adverse market conditions improve, we will sell it back into the private sector … We want to get the bank into private ownership as soon as possible,” Brown told a press conference.

The prime minister said Northern Rock, which triggered the first run on a British bank in over a century last September, would be run as an independent organisa