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Page last updated at 13:54 GMT, Sunday, 18 April 2010 14:54 UK

Gordon Brown - Lib Dem policies must be 'exposed'

On Sunday 18 April Andrew Marr interviewed Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

Please note 'The Andrew Marr Show' must be credited if any part of this transcript is used.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown
Prime Minister Gordon Brown


ANDREW MARR:

Now it's just eighteen days before everyone gets a chance to vote - everyone who is over 18, not in prison, or a certified lunatic, or a member of the House of Lords, or all three. It's been a rather interesting campaign so far. Tiring just to look at, so goodness knows what it's like for the leaders themselves. Not least, I'm sure, the Prime Minister himself who's here.

GORDON BROWN:

Good morning.

ANDREW MARR:

Good morning, Prime Minister. Could I start by asking you about the ash cloud? It's starting to look really quite serious because we hear that flights could be grounded for a long time to come. Big effect on the economy; even, I suppose, on some of the food that we eat.

GORDON BROWN:

This is one of the most serious disruptions we've seen to air travel, and our first priority must be the safety of passengers. There's a huge amount of inconvenience. We're trying to help people with ferries and trains, and also there's a helpline for people stranded abroad. But the most important issue is making sure that it is safe to fly. Flights are going up to check whether it is safe to fly. It's certainly not today. There'll be further announcements made. We've got to make sure that we can assure passengers that there will be safe and secure travel. I believe we'll have further announcements. I've talked to the air traffic control. I've talked also to the Met Office with Andrew Adonis this morning just to thank them for what they're doing, but we rely on that scientific information and evidence that they're giving. We want the minimum amount of disruption. We want to open up air space as quickly as possible. We'll have to work with the rest of the European Union to do it because everybody's facing this similar challenge. I hope if it comes to finance for companies who are affected by this, we can get European Union support from the solidarity fund.

ANDREW MARR:

Is there anything more the government can do to get people back from France, for instance?

GORDON BROWN:

Well Dan Snow's shown that you can get people …

ANDREW MARR:

He's shown the way.

GORDON BROWN:

… a Dunkirk type spirit. But there are more trains. We're trying to get even more trains, more ferries on, and we will do everything we can to help passengers who are stranded. There is a helpline open, as I said. The Foreign Office and consular officials are ready to help people in difficult parts of the world who want to get back and give them advice about what to do. But this is one of the most unexpected, but one of the most serious disruptions of travel. I think we've learned a lot about what volcanic ash and the effect of it can be. These volcanic clouds can be in the sky for some time. And we've got to make sure that we take the advantage when there are windows of opportunity for people to fly.

ANDREW MARR:

Yes. And what about the allegations of profiteering by people like Eurostar and the ferry companies?

GORDON BROWN:

Well I'd be shocked if out of this difficulty that has happened because of the circumstances of a volcano in Iceland, people try to make extra profits out of it. By running more services and by getting more ferries on, it does mean that the temptation for people to sell on tickets or to exploit the fact that there are very limited numbers of seats is lessened. So more ferries, more trains. We'll do everything in our power. Within Britain, more trains going on this week. Andrew Adonis is organising that. And we're monitoring this very closely because this is a huge disruption to passengers …

ANDREW MARR:

Sure.

GORDON BROWN:

… but also of course to the workforces in our airlines and others who are grounded at the moment.

ANDREW MARR:

Right. Let me talk about the week in politics and start off with that historic first leaders' debate. (Brown laughs) One of the issues that has caused an enormous amount of public reaction - all the opinion polls are showing it - is immigration, which you were tackled on during the debate. I think something like 75% of people say that there's been too much immigration in the last ten years or so. And you said that, student for instance, student visas were coming down, but actually for the last year student visas shot up. Once you introduced the points system, I think 60% increase in students coming in.

GORDON BROWN:

People moved, let's be honest, what happened is that people moved from the other categories into the student category. We've had to tighten that up. I think there's about 40,000 less students will be coming in in the next year. That's our latest estimate. So you will see the net inward migration numbers have come down in the last two years; coming down, we believe, this year based on the international passenger survey. And I think by naming occupations that we no longer need to bring people into the country for like chefs and care workers - care workers are a very big set of jobs that we believe we can train people up in Britain to do - you'll see the numbers of net inward migrants on the basis of these changes affected.

ANDREW MARR:

They've come down from a very, very high level though. I mean the number of migrants moving into this country is about the same as the number of new jobs created since 1997. Even the TUC says probably half of the new jobs went to migrants.

GORDON BROWN:

Look, a lot of the new jobs went to young people getting jobs; to the over-50s, far more over-50s working; and to women. I mean we know that far more women work, particularly single parents are in work now than in 1997. If you take the European Union …let's get this in perspective; there are a million people who've come from the European Union at various stages to work in Britain, but there's also a million Britons have gone to work in the European Union. And we've got to accept that there's bound to be more people wanting to study abroad or work abroad or work here for some time or study here for some time, and we've just got to get that into its proper perspective. What has happened in the last two years since I came in is the points system, and it is working. No unskilled workers can come from outside the EU. Skilled workers. If there are jobs that need to be filled, they're advertised in local job centres …

ANDREW MARR:

Sure.

GORDON BROWN:

… for four weeks. And, therefore, we give people a chance in Britain to get these jobs and gradually we're reducing the number of skilled occupations and semi-skilled occupations that are on the list.

ANDREW MARR:

But are you able to say to all of those people around the country who simply think too many people came in since 1997 - I mean the numbers are really astonishing when you look at them …

GORDON BROWN:

I think you …

ANDREW MARR:

… and they do feel that this country is on the way to being filled up …

GORDON BROWN:

Yeah, but we have …

ANDREW MARR:

… and that that was a mistake in the past. I'm not talking about now, but in the past.

GORDON BROWN:

(over) But hold on. Hold on, Andrew. To get this in perspective because I don't think this debate should not be based on true facts.

ANDREW MARR:

Of course.

GORDON BROWN:

There's a far lower proportion of foreign born people in Britain than in, say, America or Australia or in Switzerland or some of these other countries. You've got to get this in its proper perspective. But, as I do say, we are controlling and managing immigration. We changed the system to a points system. We are very tough in this points system …

ANDREW MARR:

Yes.

GORDON BROWN:

… and that means that a lot of categories of work where we would have invited people into the country before - like care assistants and like chefs - they're going to be closed as occupational routes for people to come to the country.

ANDREW MARR:

Still the net figure was four times as high as in the 1990s and a lot of people … That sort of strange worm thing on the debate - people were watching the reaction of the leaders. Yours went right down when you said you didn't want a cap.

GORDON BROWN:

Because a cap would mean that you would artificially restrict, for example, at a certain point in the year someone with a skill like a medical or engineering skill to offer the country.

ANDREW MARR:

(over) But it's what people want. It's what people want.

GORDON BROWN:

Well I think the points system is better. It's working in other countries; it's working in our country. I'll just give you an example. In 1998, of the people who came to Britain in 1998 from Europe, we believe only a quarter are still here. Many of them have gone home. And we've got to get this balance right. We are a diverse and tolerant country, but we are controlling and managing immigration in a very tough way.

ANDREW MARR:

Do you regret how immigration was handled during the Blair years, if I can put it like that? You said when you came in, you changed it. But before that.

GORDON BROWN:

Well we've had to learn lessons, and the one lesson I learnt was that the points system was the best way. Because if you …

ANDREW MARR:

(over) So too many were coming in before?

GORDON BROWN:

If you don't need unskilled workers to come into your country and if you're now training up people in established occupations, as we are doing in science and engineering and medicine and everything else, then you will need less people to fill your skill shortages, but don't underestimate the fact that we are also a tolerant and diverse country …

ANDREW MARR:

Sure.

GORDON BROWN:

… and people want to see us clamping down on illegal immigration, and they want to be sure that the pressure on services that existed when some people came to particular areas is dealt with. And that's why migrants pay a special charge - so that they contribute to the public services.

ANDREW MARR:

Yes. You won't say that it's too high. Does that mean you think £160,000 net coming in is acceptable?

GORDON BROWN:

It's going to be lower. It's already lower in my view this year, and it's going to be …

ANDREW MARR:

Much lower?

GORDON BROWN:

It's going to be a lot lower because the number of students who are coming in is going to be reduced in the coming year and the points system is starting to have a big effect.

ANDREW MARR:

Alright. Let's move onto the debate itself. (Brown laughs) This was a risk for you, as for everybody else.

GORDON BROWN:

I think it's energised the campaign. Look, you know it's thrown the campaign wide open. People thought it was a closed book to start with. And, look, you know I lost on presentation, I lost on style. Maybe I lost on smiling, some people may think.

ANDREW MARR:

What have you learned from that experience?

GORDON BROWN:

Some people may think I'm a sort of tough head teacher, I don't know. But I've learned that at the end of the debate substance will come through. You know this is not a sprint. It's a long campaign. We've got three debates. We haven't debated for example the economy yet in any substantial way. And I feel if you ask people today what the issues of the election are, the main issues, they will probably say it's our economic prospects this year and people's worries about the risk to them, and what'll happen to our economy in future years - the creation of new jobs, which we are committed to, government working with industry, and of course protecting our frontline public services. So I think the issues of the election are becoming clearer through, if you like, what has been you know a very interesting and historic time for Britain in dealing with elections.

ANDREW MARR:

When you say you lost on presentation, what were you trying to do? What had you rehearsed that you didn't do?

GORDON BROWN:

Well I didn't try to be something I'm not. I'm not certainly trying to be the king of presentation or PR style.

ANDREW MARR:

(over) And did it surprise you, any aspect of this?

GORDON BROWN:

(over) You know you campaign in style, but you have to govern in substance. And I think the British public are pretty clear, this is not an X Factor talent show. It's about who and what policies are going to be there for the future of the country. Look, you've got a Conservative emergency budget, if they're elected, in 60 days. That emergency budget just by its very name must make people ask what's going to be in it.

ANDREW MARR:

But you're going to have to do the same if you're elected.

GORDON BROWN:

No, of course not. We've had our budget. We've had our budget.

ANDREW MARR:

You're going to have to come back and look again at tax and spending, surely?

GORDON BROWN:

No, we've had our budget for this year. We've set out our figures for this year, and we've done so. The Conservatives when they say "emergency budget", that means something is going to be dramatically done and they're going to take six billion out of the economy and they're going to put … Look, if the BBC had to take a million pounds out of its budget, there would be some effect. This is six thousand million pounds out of the country's budget, and that must have an effect on the growth, the jobs, the prospects of people in the economy. And I think people will start to say there is a risk here …

ANDREW MARR:

(over) Just while we're talking …

GORDON BROWN:

… and it's too big a risk on the economy to take.

ANDREW MARR:

Just while we're talking about the economy, a pretty astonishing story for a lot of people from the Sunday Times this morning about Goldman Sachs are going to pay massive, massive bonuses again to a huge number of people based on three months work.

GORDON BROWN:

Well you know, Andrew, we've had to learn from what has happened in the financial sector. We've found out things that have been going on that we didn't know about and were happening in other parts of the world as well as Britain. Now I am shocked at this moral bankruptcy. This is probably one of the worst cases that we have seen. It makes me absolutely determined we're going to have a new global constitution for the banking system, which I'm pressing for - a global financial levy for the banks that all countries that are major financial centres pay - and we quash remuneration packages such at Goldman Sachs. If this is proved to be the case, they have got to return that money. I cannot allow this to continue. Everything I find out convinces me that we've got to go in deeper, and I believe that I'm the man to deal with these problems of the banks and to challenge them about the way they behave in the future.

ANDREW MARR:

You've said to me yourself before that you regret not getting more of a handle on bank regulation in the past. Is it because the political class generally were sort of mesmerised by the bankers and their language and their glamour and so on?

GORDON BROWN:

Well every time I moved on regulation, I had people saying this is ridiculous; deregulation is the only way forward - including the Conservatives. But I accept that we didn't know enough about what was going on inside individual companies and the entanglement of companies with others. The bank …

ANDREW MARR:

"No ken knew" as the biblical Scot would have said.

GORDON BROWN:

Well and you've got to act. And the banks have let us down. There is a moral bankruptcy, I say, reflected in what I'm reading about and hearing about. I want a special investigation done into what's been happening at Goldman Sachs. I want a special investigation done into the entanglement of Goldman Sachs and the companies there with other banks and what happened. There are hundreds of millions of pounds have been traded here and it looks as if people …

ANDREW MARR:

(over) And how quickly …

GORDON BROWN:

… people were misled about what happened.

ANDREW MARR:

How quickly can that investigation …

GORDON BROWN:

Well I want the Financial Services Authority to investigate it immediately. I know that the banks themselves will be considering legal action. We'll work with the Security and Exchanges Commission in the United States of America. The banks are still an issue. They are a risk to the economy. We've got to make sure that they behave in a proper way. But of course we've got to do it at an international level because this instance is America, Britain and many other countries and we need agreement from regulators and governments about what we need to do. A new global constitution for the banks is a big, big issue; and the banks, unless that happens, could be a risk to the recovery.

ANDREW MARR:

The big political story this morning, as of the last couple of days, has been the rise and rise and rise of Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats. What does that do to the campaign?

GORDON BROWN:

It throws it wide open, as I said a few minutes ago. I enjoy this debate. People said that this election was going to be a fait accompli before it started. Actually it's open. And I think as we move if you like from the presentational issues of the debate and what happened around the debate and who was better at this and that, it'll move to who's best to equip our country for the future, who's best for the NHS, who's best for jobs, who's best for schools, who's best for the economy, who's best for Europe and our relationships with that country, who's best for dealing with Iran, who's best for dealing with the big problems ahead?

ANDREW MARR:

So how are you going to …

GORDON BROWN:

And once it's focused you know on the economy, in particular, I think people will see that we're creating out of recession - growth, that unemployment has come down. It may not always come down every month, but unemployment is …

ANDREW MARR:

Ah! Is it not going to come down this week?

GORDON BROWN:

I don't know about that. But I'm saying that unemployment may not always come down every month, but you can see that our future jobs fund - 100,000 jobs; you can see that our school leavers are guaranteed 50,000 jobs …

ANDREW MARR:

Okay.

GORDON BROWN:

… and you can see that we're taking action which the Conservatives and others might pull away. Now that's the risk to recovery.

ANDREW MARR:

Alright.

GORDON BROWN:

People know that economic security is an issue in this election. It's on the ballot paper.

ANDREW MARR:

How are you going to deal with Nick Clegg next … How are you going to change your tactics and so on for the next debate?

GORDON BROWN:

I don't think it's about tactics. I honestly think, Andrew …

ANDREW MARR:

Alright, strategy?

GORDON BROWN:

It's …

ANDREW MARR:

Never. How are you going to deal with it?

GORDON BROWN:

It's about getting your message across. I mean you could end up with a debate where someone says the winner of the debate is X, but what is the issue of the election? And people say well it's changed. And I think during that debate on Thursday, it was clear that the public wanted to move to answers, real answers about economic policies and about what's going to happen to health and what's going to happen to education and what's going to happen to police. And the Conservatives had no answer.

ANDREW MARR:

Were you trying to gang up with Nick Clegg against David Cameron?

GORDON BROWN:

(laughs) I wasn't.

ANDREW MARR:

I noticed you … You kept calling him David and you can't stand him.

GORDON BROWN:

(laughs) I like David to talk to. Don't be ridiculous. We talk. I disagree fundamentally with his values and I think …

ANDREW MARR:

Right, but you don't dislike him?

GORDON BROWN:

No, they were exposed that evening you know, because when it came to answering the big questions, the Conservatives have no answers. And I think the Liberals have got to be exposed. I mean they're going to cut child tax credits; they're going to cut the Child Trust Fund; they've got a very strange proposal for the winter fuel allowance for pensioners that they want to introduce immediately. And I think the Liberals will come under major pressure, but so too must the Conservatives.

ANDREW MARR:

(over) You're meant to be talking …

GORDON BROWN:

It's about policy in the end. It's about substance.

ANDREW MARR:

You're meant to be talking next week about foreign affairs in the debate, and the Liberal Democrats have got a pretty popular position where they're talking about Afghanistan and their historic hostility to the Iraq War. Huge …

GORDON BROWN:

(over) Well I think, if I may say …

ANDREW MARR:

(over) Can I just follow up for a second?

GORDON BROWN:

Okay, okay.

ANDREW BROWN:

Huge numbers of people obviously coming back wounded. Terrible numbers of young, very, very young, very brave people coming back either having been killed or maimed in Afghanistan. And a lot of people in this country simply still don't really understand why or believe that the price is worth paying for a corrupt Afghan government, a very, very difficult situation. You can't see the Karzai government sustaining for very, very long. Is it genuinely worth it and do you not have to kind of re-enter that whole argument?

GORDON BROWN:

Well that's a very long question. (laughs)

ANDREW MARR:

It is a very long question. I'm sorry, it's a long answer.

GORDON BROWN:

Can I just say, first of all, nobody is as concerned as I am about the fate of our troops. You know I'm determined that they're properly equipped.

ANDREW MARR:

SAS having to get private money for their body armour this morning.

GORDON BROWN:

I think you'll find that we, the Ministry of Defence, have provided what we can and what's necessary for the SAS. And I think you'll find also that people feel (rightly so) on the battleground that they are better equipped than ever. And for those people who are injured - and I've visited Headley Court, I've visited Selly Oak and I believe they are some of the bravest and most courageous people that you could ever meet and their resilience is incredible - and we've got to give every support to them. But you know all parties agree that you've got a 43 nation coalition in Afghanistan. It's not Britain and America. It's 43 nations. The reason we're there, let's be honest, is that most of the terrorist plots that hit Britain arise from Pakistan, Afghanistan, and are affected by Taliban and al-Qaeda …

ANDREW MARR:

Okay.

GORDON BROWN:

And the reason I can give hope to people is that we are trying to bring the troops home by making sure that the Afghan Army and police can do the job.

ANDREW MARR:

Right, right.

GORDON BROWN:

There's no support for the Taliban you know in Afghanistan. There is, however, a question mark over the ability of the Afghan Security Forces to be able to keep order in Afghanistan …

ANDREW MARR:

Alright, okay.

GORDON BROWN:

… and that's the issue we're addressing.

ANDREW MARR:

Let's move back to the campaign itself. You said it's wide open. Could you work with Nick Clegg in a coalition government?

GORDON BROWN:

Look, you can talk about all this speculation …

ANDREW MARR:

Well it's right in front of us now, Prime Minister. This is what the opinion polls are telling us is going to happen.

GORDON BROWN:

I and a brilliant Labour team - a very big group of cabinet ministers who are very experienced - are fighting to win this election. The reason we're fighting to win this election is we …

ANDREW MARR:

(over) I understand why you're fighting, you keep telling me, but …

GORDON BROWN:

Because we have got the policies and we believe the other parties - Liberals and Tories - are a risk to our economy.

ANDREW MARR:

Right, right.

GORDON BROWN:

But of course …

ANDREW MARR:

Sorry, I was just going to say the Home Secretary Alan Johnson has said this week that we have to kill the i… you have to kill the idea that a hung parliament is dangerous or that a coalition government's necessarily a bad thing. Would you agree with him?

GORDON BROWN:

What I would say is this: that we have got to get our policies across to the country. After the election, there's plenty of time to talk about what happens. Commentators and politicians can talk about it from here to eternity. During the election campaign, the issue is surely this: what are the best policies for the country? Who can best equip us for the future? And I believe that we have … Look, it's about competing visions.

ANDREW MARR:

(over) The Home Secretary was very specific about this …

GORDON BROWN:

(over) I know, but it's …

ANDREW MARR:

… and it sounds like you don't agree with him?

GORDON BROWN:

I am fighting this election on competing visions for the future. I have a idea of Britain …

ANDREW MARR:

(over) I understand that, but sorry …

GORDON BROWN:

(over) But you want to talk …

ANDREW MARR:

No, I do understand it, but I just … (Brown laughs) I just want to nail down a couple of quite important constitutional …

GORDON BROWN:

(over) I know, but why do political commentators just want to talk about sort of side issues?

ANDREW MARR:

Because it's right in front of us.

GORDON BROWN:

The issue for the electorate is what are the best policies for them?

ANDREW MARR:

Well the issue for the electorate may very well be they're looking at the different parties and they're thinking if I vote this way or that way, I might get a hung parliament. And they're told, for instance, that if it isn't a decisive election result, if one party doesn't get a good majority, then Britain's AAA rating may be in trouble, the pound may start to fall and there may be serious economic effects. So let me ask you about that. Would you agree with that?

GORDON BROWN:

But that's for the electors to decide. It's not for me to tell an elector that they should vote against the party that they might support for other reasons. They must make up their own mind. I want to put my case and I want to show there are two competing visions about the future - our vision …

ANDREW MARR:

(over) But you see the Conservatives are saying that it would be a terrible thing, a hung parliament.

GORDON BROWN:

But I'm not getting into tactics of the campaign about this and that. I'm going to put my case.

ANDREW MARR:

You see it seems to me it's something quite important for voters to know whether a hung parliament would or would not, in the view of senior people like yourself, be a bad thing for this country.

GORDON BROWN:

Well I want a majority, so obviously I'm going to say that a hung parliament is a bad thing for this country because we need a majority.

ANDREW MARR:

Right.

GORDON BROWN:

We want, look, urgent care needs for social services, the new constitutional reforms. People will have a referendum next year on constitutional reform. It gives people a chance to vote on the new House of Commons and the new House of Lords. Big change …

ANDREW MARR:

(over) Could you ever move by the way … Sorry, just on that …

GORDON BROWN:

Big changes in the economy.

ANDREW MARR:

Just on the voting reform that you mentioned yourself. Could you ever move further, do you think, to a more proportional system? You've raised the idea of AV. You changed your mind about that. Could you move further, do you think?

GORDON BROWN:

The reason I changed my mind, let's be honest, is what happened on MPs expenses. We cannot have a system that's the same as it was. And Nick Clegg is right to say that we need change. The question is what kind of change. I believe that you could have an alternative vote system for the House of Commons, so you maintain the constituency link. You know I think people like voting for a Member of Parliament who represents them in Parliament.

ANDREW MARR:

(over) And maybe a proportional system for the House of Lords?

GORDON BROWN:

And, yes, I think you could consider a proportional system for the House of Lords, but a smaller House of Lords - half the size of what it is, brought in in stages and democratically accountable. And I think Liberals out there in the country would support that as a way forward, - alternative vote in the House of Commons, so everybody's got to get 50% of the vote. MPs are more legitimate then if they can get that sort of figure. And then in the House of Lords, you're not dealing with constituency links, so you could do something quite different. So it's a very bold proposal …

ANDREW MARR:

Sure.

GORDON BROWN:

… and I admit that I have had to change my mind.

ANDREW MARR:

I was going to say.

GORDON BROWN:

I've always been a constitutional reformer - devolution, freedom of information - but …

ANDREW MARR:

(over) But you've been a bit of a tribalist, let's be honest. You've been a Labour tribe man.

GORDON BROWN:

No, I'm shocked by what happened on the expenses. I really am shocked to my core. You know I was brought up, as I've said before …

ANDREW MARR:

Yeah, yeah.

GORDON BROWN:

… to believe in honesty and to believe if you do something wrong, getting it sorted out.

ANDREW MARR:

Okay.

GORDON BROWN:

The best way is a referendum of the British people.

ANDREW MARR:

But in the old days, back in the sort of mid-90s when we were talking about a progressive coalition and breaking the mould and all, everybody said that you - like John Prescott - was very much no, no, we stick inside our party; we only work inside our party.

GORDON BROWN:

(over) No, I …

ANDREW MARR:

Have you changed from that? Are you a different man now?

GORDON BROWN:

I think when the history books are written, they'll say something different; that my conversations with Liberals have been an attempt to get them involved in what I call a progressive consensus.

ANDREW MARR:

And we could see that going ahead, moving ahead?

GORDON BROWN:

I think you've got to wait and see what the people decide. But the most important thing to me is my vision of the future is not the same as the Liberal Party.

ANDREW MARR:

Because your parties are not so different in terms of their perspective, are they?

GORDON BROWN:

Yeah, but look … Look, why do the Liberals want to cut child tax credits? Look, it's not fair. Why do they want to cut the Child Trust Fund? Why are they restricting the winter allowance for pensioners? Why are they doing all these things? I think they've made a mistake on their economic policy and I think during the next two weeks we'll be able to expose that we have got the best economic policy for the country. And it really comes back you know it's not about youth or inexperience. It's about judgement. And you've got to be able to make the judgement on the big calls …

ANDREW MARR:

Can I just …

GORDON BROWN:

… and I think we got it right on the banking crisis …

ANDREW MARR:

Sure, okay.

GORDON BROWN:

… and I think we're getting it right on the economy.

ANDREW MARR:

Can I just ask about the constitutional position if we don't get a decisive thing. It's right to say that you'll remain the Prime Minister until you can't form a government, so you would get the first chance?

GORDON BROWN:

(laughs) Let's just wait and see what happens.

ANDREW MARR:

(over) Well one of the points of this, which is very serious because a lot of people …

GORDON BROWN:

(over) I've studied all this as well as you. Let's just wait and see what happens. And I think you're not only …

ANDREW MARR:

(over) And how do you …

GORDON BROWN:

… not only jumping the debates, jumping the next three weeks.

ANDREW MARR:

Okay.

GORDON BROWN:

You're jumping the people's verdict. The people have got to make their verdict before people debate about it, and I'm not going to jump any guns on this. It's up to the people. We have a competing vision for the future.

ANDREW MARR:

(over) And you can keep the Queen out of an embarrassing sort of lengthy process, do you think?

GORDON BROWN:

(over) Look, you've studied the British constitution in some detail. I believe that what people want us to do is put our arguments about the future and that's what I'm going to do.

ANDREW MARR:

Well let's jump the British people one more time and talk about your future. If you do win this election with a majority or are able to form a government yourself, are you determined to carry on for another five years? The Conservatives clearly think that's a thing to put against the Labour Party.

GORDON BROWN:

That's a fair question. But I'm standing …

ANDREW MARR:

(over) So what's the fair answer?

GORDON BROWN:

… because I've got a manifesto for the next five years. Look in five years time, we could have a million more skilled jobs in this country. In five years time, we could be the digital leaders of the world. In five years time, we could be the biomedical leaders of the world. In five years time, we could have the advanced manufacturing that will make us very proud to be a manufacturing country with strength. Now …

ANDREW MARR:

(over) You personally though, Prime Minister? Are you …

GORDON BROWN:

That's what I want to do.

ANDREW MARR:

Yuh, but are you prepared to stand aside over the next five years - you'll have been at the top for a very long time by then - and give somebody else a chance?

GORDON BROWN:

Well I'm fighting on a manifesto that is a five year manifesto to change this country.

ANDREW MARR:

That's not quite no, is it?

GORDON BROWN:

And that's what I'm doing. And I want to be able to serve. So your answer is yes, I want to serve.

ANDREW MARR:

For five years and fight the next election as Prime Minister?

GORDON BROWN:

And I want to serve because of the health service, because of schools and because of policing, and I feel passionately about fairness in this country. You know there's one thing that makes me more annoyed than anything else …

ANDREW MARR:

And it's …?

GORDON BROWN:

One thing, and it's the inheritance tax proposal of the Conservatives to give 3,000 people 200,000 each. They just happen to be the richest people in the country. It's unfair, it's immoral, it's unacceptable and we will fight it all the way.

ANDREW MARR:

And sitting here now today, this election is wide open in your view?

GORDON BROWN:

It's not only wide open, but I think the public are really looking at the substantive issues now. And I think we've had if you like the run up to that and now it's about the economy, the future of our public services and fairness in our country. When I talk about banks, I mean fairness to the hardworking families of this country.

ANDREW MARR:

Prime Minister, thank you very much indeed for joining us.

INTERVIEW ENDS




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