Page last updated at 10:28 GMT, Saturday, 20 June 2009 11:28 UK

PM says recent weeks among worst

Gordon Brown
Mr Brown talked frankly in the Guardian interview

Gordon Brown has admitted recent events have been among the worst in his political life and made him think he could "walk away from this tomorrow".

"I'm not interested in what accompanies being in power... and it would probably be good for my children," he told Saturday's Guardian newspaper.

But he insisted Labour could win the next election under his leadership.

In the wake of a failed bid to oust him the prime minister also said he may go into teaching after leaving office.

Mr Brown gave his interview to the Guardian after some of his own MPs and ministers attacked his leadership, and in the wake of Labour's poor performance in local and European elections.

He said the crises that had engulfed his leadership had hurt him and asked if he had ever been through something this bad before, he told the paper: "in my political life, not so much."

He added: "To be honest, you could walk away from all of this tomorrow."

People know we've made these decisions to try to sort the economy out, but they don't yet see the results
Gordon Brown

During two interviews he gave the Guardian earlier this month, Mr Brown also said he wished he had imposed a tougher regulatory regime on the banking system, but said he "didn't want Britain to be outside the mainstream".

He also said he had been under heavy pressure to deregulate further, and acknowledged that he "didn't know a lot about" banks buying up sub-prime mortgages during his period as chancellor.

But, he added, the global nature of modern banking meant such behaviour would "continue to happen".

Mr Brown also insisted that Labour could win the next election under his leadership.

This, he said, was because the action the government had taken on the economy and MPs' expenses would start to bear fruit, and because the Tories had admitted they would cut public spending.

Promotion offer

He said: "People know we've made these decisions to try to sort the economy out, but they don't yet see the results. Same thing on MPs. You're in that period between the implementation of your policy and the delivery of it."

During his interview, Mr Brown also admitted to having a weakness in how he presented himself to the public.

"I'm not as great a presenter of information or communicator as I would like to be," he said.

He also said he offered Caroline Flint, the former Europe minister, a chance to attend every cabinet meeting, which she declined.

Ms Flint resigned earlier this month, saying that Mr Brown used women as "window dressing" and complaining that she was never invited to cabinet, but he says he offered her "a promotion, not a demotion".

'Political crisis'

Francis Beckett, who has written a biography of the prime minister, said Mr Brown is "thin skinned" and "does not have the hide of an elephant", unlike other politicians, which meant he was sensitive to personal slights.

The biographer said he believed Mr Brown was hoping that by being more candid, he would cultivate a "more human image", in contrast to the more "robotic" public persona which developed during his time as chancellor.

Labour MP Tony Wright told the BBC that Mr Brown had faced enormous problems during his time as prime minister.

He added: "He's the prime minister who is having to preside over the worst financial and economic crisis for 60 years, and the worst political crisis in modern times.

"Any prime minister presiding over that is going to take a battering. I would have thought the temptation to walk away would be great, but I've never seen Gordon as a walker-away."



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