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Last Updated: Sunday, 27 May 2007, 19:42 GMT 20:42 UK
Brown warned on 'shadow' of Iraq
Gordon Brown
Gordon Brown was attending a hustings meeting in Sheffield
Chancellor Gordon Brown has been warned at Labour leadership hustings that Iraq is casting a shadow over the party.

Sheffield city council leader Jan Wilson told Mr Brown that he had had an "easy time" over Iraq during the leadership contest.

She added that tensions were not just in the Conservative party - and there was a "perception" problem in Labour.

Ms Wilson's comments came at a meeting of Labour members in Sheffield with Mr Brown and deputy leadership candidates.

She said: "I do think you've had an easy time, Gordon, I think there is not just tensions within the Conservative party.

"There's a great big shadow whose word has not been mentioned here today, and you must tell us how you're going to tackle the way people feel about the Iraq situation."

Mr Brown, who is set to become party leader and prime minister on 27 June, reiterated that the war in Iraq was "the most divisive issue" for Labour and the country.

Standing in front of a red, white and blue backdrop with the slogan 'Gordon Brown for Britain' across it, he told the audience he was happy to discuss the decision to topple Saddam Hussein.

But he added that his priority now was "the next steps", emphasising that the numbers of British troops in Iraq are falling and that UK forces are aiming to be there in an "overwatch" role.

On Saturday, Mr Brown admitted the government had made mistakes over its handling of the situation in Iraq.

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