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Last Updated: Saturday, 6 January 2007, 00:00 GMT
Brown would 'renew' Labour Party
Gordon Brown
Gordon Brown is expected by many as favourite to succeed Tony Blair
Gordon Brown would bring a "different style" to government should the chancellor become prime minister, a former minister has said.

Nick Brown told BBC Radio 4 there was a feeling that government needed to renew itself after Tony Blair's premiership.

"I think he wants to try and get back for the Labour Party that enthusiasm, that energy," Mr Brown said.

Only one MP - John McDonnell - has so far said publicly that he would challenge Mr Brown for the top job.

We've been in office a long time and there's a sense we are starting to lose our way
Nick Brown

Mr Brown's comments come after Lord Chancellor, Lord Falconer said Gordon Brown is "without doubt the strongest candidate" to become the next prime minister.

Mr Brown, the former agriculture minister, said the chancellor wanted to get "that sense of purpose which we certainly had in 1996 and 1997 and make sure we are standing side-by-side with the people and offering the sort of things we were offering then.

"We've been in office a long time and there's a sense we are starting to lose our way."

Mr Blair announced at the Labour Party conference in September that it would be his last as prime minister.

Mr Brown also commented on remarks Home Secretary John Reid made, when he said Labour needed to remain "New Labour" in order to win another election.

Nick Brown
Mr Brown praised the chancellor's contributions

There has been speculation that Mr Reid is considering a rival leadership bid.

"I think what John was saying is that it's quite difficult for a government... not to be a government of change and on that I agree with him.

'Towering figure'

"I notice he also went out of his way to praise the contribution that Gordon Brown has made to New Labour, something that didn't quite get the same amount of news coverage."

Lord Falconer, who has been one of Mr Blair's most loyal supporters in government, has stopped short of formally backing Mr Brown but described him as a "towering figure".

He said Mr Brown's achievements put him "head and shoulders" above potential rivals.

In an interview to be broadcast on GMTV's Sunday programme, Lord Falconer said: "He is the person, along with Tony Blair, who has most contributed to what the Labour Government has done over the last nine-and-a-half years."

Nick Brown speaking on BBC Radio 4

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