Gordon Brown delayed European Union (EU) proposals for tighter rules covering hedge funds and private equity groups after he intervened to block a discussion by finance ministers meeting in Spain. A debate in the EU parliament is scheduled to go ahead tomorrow, but MEPs will discuss the Alternative Investment Fund Managers's (AIFM) directive without a recommendation from the finance ministers' group, Ecofin. It is understood the prime minister telephoned his Spanish counterpart, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, who holds the European Union presidency, to call for more time to debate the rules. The compromise directive was due to be hammered out at a meeting of finance ministers, but the item was dropped from the agenda. A spokesman for Brown welcomed the move. He said: "The fact that it has been postponed is good news. More time is needed."