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8 April 2010

Brown says he’ll stay for full term

Speculation denied about early handover if he wins.

By James Macintyre

An unusually cheerful Gordon Brown this morning told John Humphrys on the Today programme that he intends to serve a full term if he retains office at the election. The comments, though to be expected, appear to contradict an implication by Peter Mandelson that Brown could leave office after a couple of years if he secures a fourth term for Labour.

The Tories have sought to make the prospect of “five more years of Gordon Brown” a central theme of their election message, but Labour appears not to be shying away from it. The Prime Minister’s remarks echoed those on BBC1’s Question Time last night of a strictly loyal David Miliband who, when pressed by David Dimbleby, insisted that Brown was fighting to stay on.

The Foreign Secretary, who has consistently refused to challenge Brown despite calls from supporters to do so, said he offered full support to the Prime Minister “on and off camera”.

This morning, Humphrys tried to eke a newsline out of the Brown interview by asking the Prime Minister what he might do if he lost on 6 May. Brown, who denied that politics is his “life”, said he did not want to be an academic, implying instead that he’d like to write books. But he insisted his cause was to fight and win for Labour and Britain, and placed the economic recovery at the heart of his message.

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Referring to the Tories’ opposition to the National Insurance increase — dubbed the “jobs tax” by opposition frontbenchers — Brown said the Conservatives were basing all their policies on a “myth” that billions of pounds could be taken out of the economy.