BBC Home
Explore the BBC
BBC News
Launch consoleBBC NEWS CHANNEL
Last Updated: Saturday, 4 October, 2003, 11:41 GMT 12:41 UK
Brown and Blair 'did make deal'
David Morrissey as Gordon Brown and Michael Sheen as Tony Blair
Brown and Blair were shown making a pact in TV show The Deal
A close friend of Gordon Brown says the chancellor told him he did make a pact with Tony Blair to take over the leadership of the Labour party.

Columnist Tom Brown said the chancellor told him nine years ago that Mr Blair had agreed to hand over power halfway through his second term.

Rumours of such a deal have been repeatedly denied by Mr Blair, while Mr Brown has always refused to comment.

Last week Mr Blair made it clear he was planning to stay on for a third term.

Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland, Tom Brown said the chancellor told him of the agreement the day after it was struck nine years ago.

I'm in absolutely no doubt there was a deal since Gordon phoned me the morning after it was made and told me about it
Tom Brown
The claim came days after the Channel 4 broadcast political drama The Deal.

This was a fictionalised account of the pact between the two men in London restaurant Granita, following the death of former Labour leader John Smith.

Westminster folklore has it that Mr Brown agreed to step aside, on the proviso that Mr Blair would hand over power at some point in the future.

"I'm in absolutely no doubt there was a deal since Gordon phoned me the morning after it was made and told me about it," Tom Brown said.

"But at the same time I also believe that both men left the restaurant with a different version of the deal in their minds.

"They hadn't actually written it down on paper.

Prescott appeal

"Gordon believed Blair would step down about now actually, and Blair believed that he... hadn't committed himself to any timetable.

"Hence his very clear statement that he's going to go for a third term."

At Labour's conference last week, the Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott issued what was taken to be an appeal for an end to the rivalry between the two men.

"This party knows, the whole country knows, that these two achieve more by their common endeavour than they do alone," he said.




SEE ALSO:
The Deal proves unfair to Blair
29 Sep 03  |  Reviews
Blair-Brown 'pact' under spotlight
08 Aug 03  |  Politics
Blair 'staying for third term'
27 Jul 03  |  Politics
Profile: Gordon Brown
03 Apr 03  |  Politics
The Tony Blair years
28 Aug 03  |  Politics


RELATED INTERNET LINKS:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

News Front Page | World | UK | England | Northern Ireland | Scotland | Wales | Politics
Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health | Education
Have Your Say | Magazine | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific