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Last Updated: Monday, 25 September 2006, 15:22 GMT 16:22 UK
Brown sets out leadership vision
Gordon Brown
Mr Brown is the favourite to succeed Tony Blair

Gordon Brown has made his pitch to the Labour Party conference in Manchester to be Britain's next prime minister.

Mr Brown said he had the experience and right values for the job - and said he would relish the chance to take on David Cameron's Conservatives.

In the test of his political life, Mr Brown paid tribute to Tony Blair but admitted they had differed at times.

"Where differences have distracted from what matters I regret that, as I know Tony does too," said Mr Brown.

Mr Brown said he accepted people want to know more about him as a person.

We need a leadership battle now so people can decide whether Gordon Brown really is the best choice
Martin, Edinburgh, UK

He used his speech to talk about how his upbringing in Scotland had forged his view that all talent must be fulfilled.

"I believe then and I believe now that at all times the Labour Party must stand for more than a programme: we must have a soul," he said.

Mr Brown said he was quite a private person, drawn into public life not in search of fame or celebrity but because he wanted to make a difference.


"I know where I come from, what I believe and what I can contribute," he said.

Gordon Brown, with wife Sarah
Length: 37mins, 37 secs
Standing ovation: 2 mins 45 secs
Applause: 41 bursts during speech
Joke: "I'm more interested in the future of the Arctic circle than the future of the Arctic Monkeys
Reaction: Gerald Kaufman MP: "That was the longest job application in history, but I don't mind."
BBC's Nick Assinder's verdict: "He made his most upfront pitch for the job of prime minister yet and got a warm response in the hall."

"And I am confident that my experience and my values give me the strength to take the tough decisions.

"I would relish the opportunity to take on David Cameron and the Conservative Party."

Mr Brown, who has faced claims he is not a team player, name-checked a series of Cabinet ministers.

And he tackled concerns over how his Scottish roots will play with English voters, speaking about the importance of a sense of Britishness in meeting the challenge of globalisation.

"When I'm in England some people say I talk about Britishness because I'm now embarrassed about being Scottish," he said.

"Let me say I am proud to be Scottish and British."

On foreign policy, Mr Brown said Parliament must in future make have the final say on sending British troops to war, except in emergencies.

He hinted he was open to the idea of a written constitution.

'New politics'

And he said he wanted to create at least 100,000 new jobs in green technology.

The chancellor said he wanted a "new politics" founded on responsibilities as well as rights.

MONDAY: Brown's keynote speech. Also taking to the platform are Alistair Darling and John Hutton
TUESDAY: Blair's keynote speech. Also taking to the platform are Margaret Beckett and Ruth Kelly.
WEDNESDAY: Alan Johnson, David Miliband, Patricia Hewitt all take to the platform and Bill Clinton is the guest speaker
THURSDAY: John Reid, Peter Hain and John Prescott all take to the stage.

He put devolution of power, from government to citizens and local institutions, at the top of his agenda.

And despite trade union concerns about NHS reforms, Mr Brown said modernisation had to continue to ensure services met the public's rising aspirations.

In a hint about changes to the NHS, he said the daily running of more services should be separated from political control.

Mr Blair joined the standing ovation for the speech, but Downing Street was forced to issue a statement denying a Bloomberg news agency report that his wife Cherie had said "that's a lie" as she had heard on a TV monitor Mr Brown saying it had been a privilege to serve under her husband.

Dave Prentis, leader of the country's biggest union Unison, said: "This was a speech with vision, based on working together, something we have not heard for a long time."

But leadership challenger John McDonnell said Mr Brown had been "content-less" and was offering only more of the same.

The Conservatives said Mr Brown had pointed to a record of failure on meeting public aspirations.

"People are entitled to ask what he has been doing for the last 10 years," said a Tory spokesman.

Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesman Vince Cable said: "Politicians should be judged on their records, not on speeches. Gordon Brown has had nearly 10 years in power to help deliver on Labour's promises to the British people and has singularly failed to do so."


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