Public affairs experts mull over Gordon Brown's interview with Piers Morgan

Public affairs experts have been discussing Gordon Brown's appearance on Piers Morgan's chat show last night.

Piers Morgan chat show: Gordon Brown interviewed
Piers Morgan chat show: Gordon Brown interviewed

The Prime Minister appeared on Piers Morgan's Life Stories, during which he talked movingly about his daughter who died and his son's cystic fibrosis.

Brown became visibly upset during the one-hour interview and his wife Sarah, who was also present, cried while he talked about their children.

However, John Major's former press secretary and Hanover founder Charles Lewington was left unconvinced by Brown's performance.

‘Cringe-making, hypocritical and clunky – but it could well add two points to his personal ratings, though not the ratings of the Labour Party. David Cameron should insist that he is never interviewed by Piers Morgan but demand an equally prominent slot from ITV with an interviewer who can convey his core strengths of leadership and common sense.'

Meanwhile DLA Piper head of media and director, trade and government relations, Eben Black said Brown's appearance showed an improvement in the way he presented himself on television.  

‘It was an interview notable, of course, for enormous self-regard and heroic grandstanding. In contrast Gordon Brown came over much better than he ever has before and the obvious aim of making him appear slightly more normal seems to have succeeded.'

He added: ‘He was right to do the interview. But I fear it may be too late to convince the public he is one of them. He managed to avoid answering most of the questions, again a success for him. But there were no tears, unless perhaps I blinked and missed them, which was a victory for spin in itself.'

However, Olly Kendall, head of PR at Insight Public Affairs, said the interview was an ‘unmitigated success'. ‘The interview was utterly engaging because of Brown's candour and visible unease. He came across as honest, passionate and emotionally sensitive. A poll bounce will surely follow.'

He added: ‘But the format is so effective precisely because it's a one-off. His back-story, though, is a great counter-poise to Cameron's decade in media and consultancy, and that is something his PR advisers should look to harness more in the run up to the election.'

Newspaper columnists have also given their verdicts this morning on Brown's interview. The Daily Mail's Quentin Letts said: ‘I suspect Mr Brown will live to regret this appalling show,' while The Times' leading article said the interview ‘eroded the dignity of his office'.

Brown's emotional TV appearance followed Alastair Campbell's interview on the BBC's Andrew Marr show last Sunday, during which Tony Blair's former director of communications struggled to contain his emotions when questioned over the Iraq war.



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