UK - Chancellor Gordon Brown was tonight facing a rare vote of confidence in the House of Commons about his pensions policy.

The opposition Conservatives have tabled a motion this evening that "this House has no confidence in the Chancellor of the Exchequer's handling of occupational pensions".

The debate stems from recent revelations that Brown rejected advice about the impact of the removal of tax breaks on pension funds in 1997. That decision - which cost funds an estimated £5bn (€7.4bn) a year - is seen as being at least partly responsible for the decline of defined benefit pension funds in the UK.

The government has tabled a countermotion backing Brown. It cites his handling of the pensions mis-selling scandal and initiatives such as the Pension Protection Fund, the new Pensions Regulator and the Financial Assistance Scheme.

The debate could go on until 10pm. The government's majority should mean Brown survives the vote - although it will be uncomfortable for him with the leadership of the ruling Labour party up for grabs.

Conservative finance spokesman George Osborne was quoted saying the debate would see if Brown has the "political courage to apologise".

Osborne said: "This is Gordon Brown's chance to explain why he sought to hide the dangers of his reckless raid on pensioners' savings.

"After the revelations about the raid, how can anyone have confidence in his judgment?"