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Last Updated: Sunday, 27 January 2008, 11:56 GMT
Gordon Brown: 'I'm no ditherer'

Gordon Brown
I think the decisions that I've made, the big changes that I've made since I came in, show a level of resolution about the changes we've got to make for Britain as a whole
Gordon Brown

Gordon Brown has rejected the charge that he dithered over the Peter Hain resignation and other issues and said that it was only the Conservatives who were accusing him of dithering.

He said: "I think the decisions that I've made, the big changes that I've made since I came in, show a level of resolution about the changes we've got to make for Britain as a whole."

Earlier in January, Mr Brown refused to be drawn on whether he was enjoying the job, but on the Politics Show he told Jon Sopel that being Prime Minister was the best job in the world.

"There's a great deal of satisfaction," he said, "in trying to help people in different ways and not just on the economy as I used to do, but on a whole range of other areas.

"So I would say that I've been fortunate enough to be given the chance to do what I think is the best job in the world."

Benefit claimants

He announced that benefit claimants would in future be compelled to undertake training to acquire the skills to get back into work.

"Our policy changes because, 10 years ago, we said look, if you're not prepared to work, we're going to make sure you do work before you get any benefits, you've got to sign up to a condition to work.

"Now, people will have to sign up to a new condition and the condition is they're prepared to get the skills for work as well.

"So you can't sit around and do nothing. You've got to look at what the skills you can offer are."

Skills to follow

But he denied that this was simply a response to Conservative claimants to get tougher in this area, saying: "I don't think the Tories are proposing anything that hasn't been proposed years ago. What we are interested in is the next stage, and they're not. The next stage is skills."

Mr Brown endorsed Tony Blair's candidacy for the newly created post of President of the European Union: "Tony Blair would be an excellent President."

Tougher sentences

He refused to be drawn on the call by the widow of Gary Newlove, murdered by teenagers outside his home in Warrington, for young people to be made to do military service - preferring instead to stress the government's wider record on crime.

He said: "Every crime is a tragedy and a sadness and in particular, this crime has been a heinous crime.

"But let me also say that we're doing everything in our power, both with the numbers of police officers on the ground and neighbourhood policing, and at the same time, let me also say, tougher sentences where that is necessary."

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Gordon Brown: Hain, benefits and crime



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