GORDON Brown yesterday pledged to impose the most draconian curbs on bank bonuses of any country in the world, as he launched a last-ditch fightback to save himself from humiliation at next year’s general election.<br /><br />The Prime Minister, who spoke at the Labour Party conference in Brighton yesterday, was under intense pressure to rally the party faithful after chancellor Alistair Darling said the Labour leadership had “lost the will to live”.<br /><br />With opinion polls suggesting the party faces a crushing defeat by the Conservatives next year, Brown vowed to retain his job, telling the BBC’s Andrew Marr: “I do not roll over.”<br /><br />Brown said Labour’s planned new rules for the banking industry would be the “toughest action of any country in the world”. He said: “In the last few days I’ve become utterly convinced just how far we all have to go. The banks are anxious to return to the bad old days… I’m determined we clean up once and for all.”<br /><br />Brown said the Queen’s Speech this autumn would contain a new Business and Financial Services Act to drive away the bad old days of mega bank bonuses and create a “just and fairer society”. The new law will give the Financial Services Authority (FSA) the power to impose penalties on offending businesses, he said.<br /><br />As Brown defended the party’s health, he faced controversial questions about his own. Andrew Marr asked whether he is dependent on painkillers, claiming rumours had circulated in Westminster.<br /><br />Brown replied he suffered eye problems from a boyhood rugby injury, but denied dependency. <br /><br />While Brown said the Labour Party was launching “Operation Fightback”, his plans for the vote-seeking banking legislation were immediately dismissed as irrelevant by his political opponents and top City figures. <br /><br />Conservative Party shadow chief secretary to the Treasury Philip Hammond said: “This is desperate stuff from Labour. The statement on bankers’ bonuses was announced by his chancellor previously and it remains to be seen what is actually in it that is new. The public will not be taken for fools.”<br /><br />Angela Knight, chief executive of the British Bankers’ Association, said banks have now been working “for some time” to tie bonuses with long-term business success in a bid to cut out short-term risk taking. <br /><br />“The UK alone has agreed to have bankers’ pay overseen by its financial regulator so there is nothing new in what the Prime Minister has said today. Pay is always an emotive subject but we need to take the heat out of the discussion,” she said.<br /><br />Alistair Darling is today set to tell bankers they can not return to “business as usual”.<br /><br />“We won’t allow greed and recklessness to ever again endanger the whole global economy,” he will say.