Page last updated at 12:47 GMT, Sunday, 3 January 2010

Cross-party war cabinet rejected

Gordon Brown
Gordon Brown: Next election will be a choice

Gordon Brown has rejected David Cameron's idea of inviting other party leaders to regular "war cabinets" if he wins the next general election.

Mr Brown told BBC One's Andrew Marr there was already a war cabinet with all the "major players" from the military and security services in it.

He said other leaders were consulted and briefed on Privy Council terms.

Mr Brown said being at war cabinets may remove the scope for opposition parties to disagree with government policy.

He said: "If I may say from my experience of government what a war cabinet is like, we have the head of the defence staff on it, we have the head of MI5, we have the head of MI6, we have the head of GCHQ, we have a whole range of people who are not serving politicians."

Mr Brown said the the current war cabinet, known as the Ministerial Committee on National Security, International Relations and Development (NSID) worked "very well".

It was meeting this week to discuss the situation in both Yemen and Somalia, he added.

On Saturday Conservative leader David Cameron announced his cross-party war cabinet plans "in the spirit of unity, of a greater purpose than the simple pursuit of politics".

He said: "If we win this year's election, I will invite leaders of the main opposition parties to attend the war cabinet on a regular basis so they can offer their advice and insights.

"When a nation is at war, it needs to pull together. I am determined that with a Conservative government, it will."

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