Gordon Brown's interview with Guardian gets lukewarm reception from PROs

Gordon Brown's in-depth interview with the Guardian this weekend has prompted mixed reactions from PROs and journalists.

Gordon Brown: Gave interview to Guardian
Gordon Brown: Gave interview to Guardian

The feature-length interview in the Guardian Weekend magazine was Brown's first major interview since the leadership crisis earlier this month. In the interview, Brown talked about what he would do if he stepped down from power.

Among the quotes particularly highlighted by the media were: ‘To be honest, you could walk away from all of this tomorrow' and ‘It wouldn't worry me if I never returned to any of those places - Downing Street, Chequers'.

Following publication of the interview the Daily Mirror ran with the headline ‘Gordon Brown: I'll be teacher after No10', while the Daily Express ran with: ‘Brown could quit politics ‘to avoid humiliation of defeat' at election'.

Insight Public Affairs account director Chris West said Brown's honesty was to be applauded. ‘It's refreshing to see such an honest piece from a serving Prime Minister, though it's a reflection of the situation he finds himself in that he's taking a gamble like this.'

However, he added: ‘While making a play for the "I'm a regular guy" territory, his honesty over the lack of strategic planning and his personal hurt over recent attacks will certainly give his opponents more ammunition in the short term.'

Fishburn Hedges director Rory Scanlan said: ‘It's likely that Brown weighed up what he was doing when he said that he could walk away from the trappings of power tomorrow and he might move to teaching after he leaves office.  The risk is that he looks like he is already thinking about life after No. 10., but the aim was to reinforce that he is motivated by public service.'

He added that the interview comes too late to make much difference. He said: ‘No amount of frank revelations can make up for his flat footed reaction to the expenses scandal when he was unable to craft an effective or timely response to the wave of revelations from the Telegraph which have done so much to damage trust in politics.'

Meanwhile journalist Fraser Nelson said on the Spectator Coffee House blog: ‘[Katharine] Viner was doing a personality piece, and given her raw material, the result is little short of miraculous. She has produced an interesting and readable interview with Brown, and the annals of British journalism have strikingly few of those. But even in this relaxed mode, Brown lies instinctively about his spending plans.'



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