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Last Updated: Monday, 3 September 2007, 15:15 GMT 16:15 UK
Brown plays down early election
Gordon Brown
Mr Brown says he wants to engage more people in politics.
Gordon Brown has refused to rule out an early general election amid continuing speculation about an October poll.

Pressed on the issue on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, he said: "There will be a time and a place for a general election, but it is not now."

Instead he announced plans to involve opposition MPs, citizens' juries and a citizens' summit in government.

"A new type of politics" was needed to tackle youth and children's issues, crime, land use and health, he said.

'Business as usual'

The speech has been seen in some quarters as raising the prospects of an October election - even though Mr Brown can call an election at any time up to May 2010.

Asked about election timing Mr Brown told Today: "I have to say there will be no announcement today ... I am getting on with the business of government.

We want to draw on people from other parties who have particular expertise to offer
Gordon Brown

"If there were to be an election, the first person I would tell is not you ... it would be HM the Queen and I have not done that.

"There will be a time and a place for these things, but it is not now.

"I am getting on with the business of government and I think people will see by what I say today and what I do in the future that what's on my mind is making this country successful in the future."

'Engage and involve'

He spoke out ahead of a speech to the National Council of Voluntary Organisations, in which he outlined his ambition to lead a government that unifies the country.

He said he did "not agree with the old belief of half a century ago that we can issue commands from Whitehall and expect the world to change".

BBC political editor Nick Robinson
What stands out is an attempt to wrong-foot the Tories
BBC political editor Nick Robinson

"Only a new kind of politics can help us meet these challenges - whether it is crime and gang violence, the future health of the nation or climate change.

"The solutions will not come simply from narrow debate between states and markets ... We must engage and involve with people on the issues they face in their everyday lives."

With the new political season beginning in September, Mr Brown said there was no place for "business as usual".

"I believe that Britain needs a new type of politics which embraces everyone in this nation, not just a few," he said.

Tory recruits

"A politics built on consensus, not division. A politics that draws on the widest range of talents and expertise, not the narrow circles of power."

Mr Brown said from this week citizens' juries would meet around the country to deal with issues relating to children, the threat of violence and pornography on the internet.

Citizens' juries would discuss crime and communities next week, and at a later date, the future of the NHS.

He announced plans for standing commissions to tackle long-term issues, starting with the role of carers.

He said Tory MP Patrick Mercer, forced to quit as the Conservatives' homeland security spokesman after a row over alleged racist comments, is to advise Lord West on security matters.

Fellow Conservative MP John Bercow is to head a review into support to children with learning difficulties.

Mr Brown also said that the Lib Dem MP Matthew Taylor would be advising the government on future land-use policy.

There would also be a Speakers' conference bringing together all parties to discuss the decline in voter turn out, weekend voting and the under-representation of women and ethnic minorities in the House of Commons, he added.

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