Brown's speech is a hit with PR bosses

Public affairs agency bosses attending the Labour conference this week gave a clear thumbs up to Gordon Brown's keynote speech.

All smiles: Sarah and Gordon Brown
All smiles: Sarah and Gordon Brown

PRWeek spoke to agency chiefs in Manchester shortly after the crucial address, which sources said was prepared by a team including former Downing Street comms director Alastair Campbell.

Nick Williams, head of public affairs at Fleishman-Hillard said: 'It was strong on soundbites and passion together with a few personal touches – Brown's most effective speech of his Premiership.’

David Sowells, MD of Bell Pottinger Public Affairs, said: ‘It was the most important speech of his career to date and overall I think he delivered what his party was demanding of him.’

James O’Keefe, MD at Tetra Strategy, said: ‘The speech was New Brown… It was full of energy, vigour and determination which was almost physically gulped down by the delegates in Manchester.’

Alex Bigg, MD of public affairs at Edelman, was slightly less enthusiastic, saying: ‘He played to his strengths but he’s no Blair, no Cameron… the best he could do.’

John Lehal, MD at Insight Public Affairs, described the speech as ‘unashamedly serious, authentic and personal’.

And Darren Caplan, director of Brands2Life Public Affairs, said: 'Comms-wise he looked good, his delivery was competent and he was right to use a lecturn.' But Caplan added that the PM was 'not bold enough in asserting his authority over Labour MPs worried about losing their seats'.

Brown was one of many cabinet members to mention meetings with the public in their keynote speech, recounting his conversations with people struggling with bills, parents and victims of crime.

Previously, Foreign Secretary David Miliband had recalled speaking with Afghans and Defence Secretary Des Browne talked about ‘humbling’ conversations with the Armed Forces.

Similarly International Development Secretary Douglas Alexander remembered talking to an ‘expectant mum' and Work and Pensions Secretary James Purnell spoke of 'a woman called Mary' who obtained a new job thanks to Labour policies.

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