No time for a novice, says Brown



By Justin Parkinson

1653: As the Labour members head off to the bars of Manchester to discuss their leader's performance in more detail, our live account of Mr Brown's speech and its aftermath comes to an end. Please join us again on Wednesday, 1 October for Conservative leader David Cameron's conference address.

1642: Angus Robertson, leader of the Scottish National Party at Westminster, is not impressed, saying: "This was tired rhetoric from a tired prime minister."

1636: Schools Secretary Ed Balls, a longtime ally of the PM, says: "That's the sort of speech Gordon should be making every day."

1622: Shadow chancellor George Osborne, the object of Mr Brown's mockery, says: "This was Gordon Brown retreating to the left to save his job. There was nothing really new in the speech - no apology for the mess he's got the country into and no new ideas that show us how he's going to get us out of it."

1610: Foreign Secretary David Miliband, who gained a lot of attention from TV cameras during Mr Brown's address, says: "The speech was an excellent speech. I think Gordon found his true voice."

1608: Housing Minister Yvette Cooper says: "It was a great speech. It was a serious speech for serious times but also a very personal speech very much about the things Gordon Brown cares about."

Comment from blogger
1556 From the web: "Did anyone notice the lifting from Sarah Palin's VP speech - where Mr Brown talked about not getting into politics to be part of the establishment but rather to serve the country? Very similar line from Mrs Palin, in which she said she was not in politics to please the media elite but rather to serve the country." Morice Mendoza

1555: Former Labour leader Lord Kinnock says the party does appreciate the dangers of division and that it is "well advised" to support Mr Brown. The reference to "novices" was to "David Cameron, nobody else", he adds. Tomorrow's newspapers could well disagree.

Comment from blogger
1550: From the web:"It was a good speech, if not a great speech. It was an attempt to remind people who he is and what he believes; a defence of his personality and his values... There were good announcements on free prescriptions for cancer sufferers and a right to catch-up tuition. He addressed the problems of the economy in the detail they deserved. And he took on the Tories on their lack of experience, a long overdue line of attack." Conor Ryan

1547: Paul Kenny, general secretary of the GMB union, says Mr Brown "came across absolutely brilliantly" in delivering Labour's message. Dave Prentis, of Unison, says the hall "was with him". Unite's Derek Simpson said it was more Labour than new Labour. Alastair Campbell disagrees.



1541: Home Secretary Jacqui Smith says she disagrees with Nick Robinson's view that the novice comment referred to David Miliband as well as David Cameron. She finishes her stint as a guest on the BBC News Channel by saying that Mr Brown had exceeded pundits' expectations.




Nick Robinson
1541: BBC political editor Nick Robinson says the "no time for a novice" line used by Mr Brown should be taken not just as a reference to Tory leader David Cameron - but also as a coded warning to would-be supporters of Foreign Secretary David Miliband.


1540: Home Secretary Jacqui Smith says the speech showed Gordon Brown was a great leader and says she believes the leadership question "should have gone away".



1538: Cabinet minister and Brown ally Ed Miliband says it was "the speech of his life". It was "much more conversational" than normal and was "who he is".


Nick Robinson
1536: As the audience takes in the speech, BBC political editor Nick Robinson says the speech was "an invitation to the country to take a look at him" as a "serious man for serious times". Mr Brown tried to set "dividing lines" between himself and the Tories, he adds.


Lord Hattersley
1533: Former Labour deputy leader Lord Hattersley says the speech was "Gordon Brown being Gordon Brown and not somebody else".


Iain Duncan Smith
1533: Former Tory boss Iain Duncan Smith says the Conservatives have finally been attacked by Mr Brown. His going "hard and long on the NHS" suggests this might become an ongoing tactic, he adds. But "the elephant in the room" - the economy - was not much mentioned, Mr Duncan Smith adds.

1529: The PM also shakes hands with the panel of people standing behind him throughout the speech. More pictures. The Browns are strolling off the stage. Some music from Jackie Wilson (wrongly referred to as Stevie Wonder earlier - sorry) is turned up. The clapping goes on.


ben wright
1528: From BBC political correspondent Ben Wright: That Tory tub-thumping was what the audience longed to hear. After about a year of being hit with the line about not fixing the roof while the sun was shining the PM says the analysis is nonsense. In his view the government did fix the roof, by ploughing money into public services. It's taken a very long time to come up with this riposte. Brown slammed the Conservatives' economic strategy, implied they're innocents and clearly relaxed during that part of the speech. That was the bit where he was in tune with the hall. Brown is sketching the election battle lines for a contest he clearly wants to fight.


Sarah and Gordon Brown
1527: Mr Brown strides around the stage, waving and smiling, as wife Sarah joins him for the obligatory pictures. He shakes hands with Foreign Secretary David Miliband.


1526: When united, Labour is a "great movement", Mr Brown says. Labour will "win, not for the sake of our party. Together we will win for the sake of our country." The speech is over - it lasted just under an hour.



Email symbol
1524: By e-mail: "Very impressive so far. He has problems and constraints, but seems a caring and genuine guy, who's in politics to help. A stark contrast to the shameless hate-mongers infesting these boardsDavid, Leeds, UK


1524: All the criticism he has received "is worth it" if he makes life better for one child or one community, the PM says. Tough times "strengthen our resolve". There is a ripple of applause.



1522: The story of a 10-year-old boy killed in Rwanda shows that the UN has not always succeeded, Mr Brown says. Britain will "speak up for justice" globally.




1520: Mr Brown pays tribute to the "heroism" of UK troops around the world and says Britain is the best country in the world.


Comment from blogger
1520: From the web: "There is nothing in this speech. Would love to hear what the grassroots Labour activists in the hall are actually thinking! This can't be what they wanted to hear - can it????" Billyboy



1519: The Tories lack "substance" and are "prisoners of their past", the prime minister says. Alluding to Mr Cameron's comments about the country "being broken", he says Britain "has never been broken", either "by fascism, the Cold War or terrorists", he adds.



1517: By e-mail "Free cancer drugs. That's proper Labour for you." LM, York, United Kingdom



1516: In a dig at Conservative leader David Cameron, the PM says "this is no time for a novice". The opposition is trying to "conceal" its true ends, he claims, using his familiar jibe that the Tory front bench are "salesmen". These attacks on the Conservatives are going down well amongst the party faithful in the hall.


Comment from blogger
1515: From the web: "I'm liking this speech more and more. 'We stand up, we fight hard for fairness. We don't give in and we never will'. A passionate clarion call about the choice before voters based on an appeal to our core values." Hopi Sen



1514: The Tory-bashing continues. Mr Brown mocks shadow chancellor George Osborne, saying Britain would be in a worse position under his management of the economy.


Prolonged applause
1512: Every "blow we have struck for fairness" has "been bitterly opposed by the Conservative Party, the PM says. He talks about new schools and hospitals. He then says Labour did "fix the roof while the sun was shining", contrary to recent Tory criticism of Labour's handling of the economy. The delegates really enjoyed that.


1510: Mr Brown has been speaking for more than 40 minutes now. He praises the contribution of migrants to the UK, but says new checks are "only fair".

Comment from blogger
1510: From the web "NHS staff are thanked... Big applause and standing ovation. Not entirely sure what for. Must have missed something. Labour is the party of the NHS. Personal mission. His eye story again. His eye sight was saved by NHS. Mine too!" Smalltownscribbles

1507: Mr Brown lists his policies again, arguing they represent a "future worth fighting for". He also says "everyone who can, should work".


1506: The government will bring forward plans for elderly people to stay longer in their homes, he says.


1504: By e-mail "Not a bad speech so far." Scarlett, London.


1504: Mr Brown says cancer patients will not pay any prescription charges from next year. Quite a few delegates are on their feet applauding. He also announces free health check-ups for over-40s.


1502: Labour will take on any vested interest, "however powerful", to improve the NHS, Mr Brown says. Britain "must lead the world" in fighting disease, he adds.

Email symbol
1500: By e-mail "A speech is merely a speech. Anyone can go on stage and talk as long as they don't get stage fright: the best of them are called actors. Actions speak louder than words, and just look at what most people who speak up think about those in recent months." Clive, Ruislip, United Kingdom



1500: Mr Brown recounts the story of how, when 16, he injured himself at rugby and lost an eye. He recalls how he told the conference about that in his speech last year. He adds that what he didn't say last year was that he faced going blind in his other eye - and that it was saved by the NHS. That is why he is "so passionate" about free healthcare, he says.

Prolonged applause
1458: The prime minister thanks NHS staff for serving "a great ideal" of free healthcare. That gets the biggest cheer so far.


1456: He promises to turn Labour's pledge to end child poverty into law. Children will have a "guaranteed right to personal catch-up tuition", he says.


1454: After that surprising start, involving his wife Sarah on the stage, Mr Brown is settling into more traditional form - listing Labour's achievements. As already widely reported, he pledges to extend nursery places for two-year-olds for "every parent who wants one". That gets some cheers.

Prolonged applause
1452: Mr Brown thanks Harriet Harman for her "tireless" work as Labour deputy leader. Close ally Ed Miliband is praised. John Denham, Ruth Kelly and John Hutton are also mentioned. They all get big rounds of applause.


1451: Fairness is "in our DNA", Mr Brown says. The audience seem to like that. The PM adds that he wants to "unleash" more social mobility.


1449: Mr Brown lauds the efforts of "one million new businesses" under Labour. He says the minimum wage has changed lives - saying that means, for example, a dad who can afford his child's birthday party. The NHS gets a similarly personal, emotional treatment. That gets a long round of applause.

ben wright
1448: From BBC political correspondent Ben Wright - Gordon Brown hasn't talked about Britishness for a while but today the theme is back with him promising that if the right choices are made this could be a "British century". It wasn't clear exactly how. As expected he also tried to harness the current economic turmoil to prove a political point. David Cameron likes to say there is such a thing as society but it's not the same of the state. Brown is asserting that the state does have a role and the last week proved it, saying only Labour can hit back against "unbridled" free market forces.

1447: Mr Brown says he does not agree there is an "inevitable political cycle" in the UK. The country "needs a Labour government" even more than in 1997, he adds. A party must "reveal its heart".


Twitter symbol
1446: From Twitter: "Gordon Brown waving his JK Rowling cheque in our faces - how gauche!" James Graham, Lib Dem supporter


1445: Labour will be the "party of law and order", the PM says. It will also deliver "security and dignity for all pensioners". And it will "be the party of the family".


1443: Smiling, Mr Brown says British firms and workers "can reap the rewards" of a world economy set to double in size. This will be a "British century".


1442: Mr Brown outlines the government's policies to reduce reliance on oil. He attacks the Conservatives.


Email symbol
1441: By e-mail "Crikey I've just switched off. Every dour cliché is being greeted with bursts of sycophantic applause. At this rate his speech will last till next election day - presumably so other contenders wont get a look in. This should be on the Fantasy Channel" Henry

1441: The audience enjoys Mr Brown saying no member of a bank's board should be able to argue they "did not understand the risk" when things go wrong.


1439: Neither markets nor governments can do everything, he adds. There should be a "commitment to fairness and to business". It is time to "rebuild the world financial system and around clear principles", Mr Brown argues.

1438: The current problems are a "defining moment" for New Labour, Mr Brown says, mentioning predecessor Tony Blair. Market turbulence shows the need for a "new settlement", rewarding "hard work, effort and enterprise".

ben wright
1438: From BBC political correspondent Ben Wright - The PM went in hard on David Cameron. The message: I'm not like him, I'm like you. Brown said he didn't go to London to join the establishment and his parents struggled to juggle their bills. And he slammed Cameron's kitchen photo-ops with his children. He said his children "aren't props, they're people". This is Brown refusing to play the game on David Cameron's terms. Smarter strategy than dressing up Labour activists in top hats anyway.

1435: Labour is "on the side" of middle and low earners, the PM says. The "mission of the hour" is extending opportunities.


Email symbol
1434: By e-mail: If he commits to borrowing in order to fund more public spending during an economic crisis and a forthcoming recession then his credibility will be shot. He built his fiscal reputation on prudence and being able to afford what we spend and whilst it has since been shown that his economic miracle was nothing more than a global credit bubble, his reputation for prudence is currently still just about hanging on. Today, he might blow this too. Darren, UK

1432: Mr Brown says his children "aren't props; they're people", which is a dig at David Cameron. The 10p tax episode had shocked him, he adds, saying his "unwavering focus" was on taking the UK through the economic crisis.

1431:Mr Brown says he wants to "change" the establishment. The PM adds he is "serious about doing a serious job" for the country. He talks about his upbringing and says every child should go to a good school.

1429: Mr Brown says he wants to "answer your questions directly" and "build a new settlement for new times, a fair Britain for a new age". The PM says he did not come into politics to "be popular" - and jokes that that's probably a good thing.

1428: Mr Brown gets things under way. "Thank goodness Sarah and I are a team," he says. "I'm very proud to be her husband." He then goes on to say his speech is about "who I am".

Sarah and Gordon Brown
1425: Mrs Brown is speaking again. She introduces him. Cue Stevie Wonder on the PA system. Everyone is on their feet.


1424: Nick Robinson says Mrs Brown's address shows the PM has "listened to some of the criticisms" of his style. "There's nothing like a surprise," he adds. Mrs Brown is still at the podium. Will she introduce her husband as well as the video?


1423: Mrs Brown says she is "proud" of her husband. This sort of thing normally happens at US party conventions. No-one here can remember this happening at a British party conference. Now it is time for the video itself.


1422: Sarah Brown is getting a warm round of applause. She tells the audience she "asked" to speak.

1421: It's almost time for the pre-speech video. Sarah Brown is in the hall. At the lectern. What's going on? It looks like she is about to address the Labour conference.

1418: In true modern fashion, a group of people has assembled at the back of the stage, to provide a "diverse" background for Mr Brown. By the way, the PM is planning to speak from a lectern, using an autocue, rather than parade around Cameron/Clegg-style.


1416: Tony Blair's former spokesman, Alastair Campbell, asks for a "serious speech". He says the current economic problems should not be "all about a blame game".

Nick Robinson
1414: BBC political editor Nick Robinson says Mr Brown is expected to "get personal" in his speech. He will attempt to overturn "negatives", such as being too serious, and try to turn them into "assets".

Iain Duncan Smith
1411: On the BBC's Daily Politics, former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith accuses Mr Brown of "indecision". Meanwhile in the conference hall the cabinet is out in force now.

1410: Gordon Brown and wife Sarah have left their hotel, en route to the conference hall.

1409: There are very few seats left in the conference hall now. Is it coincidence or a cruel joke that the PA system is playing the hit song Sit Down, by James?


Lord Hattersley
1408: Mr Brown's big moment approaches, with some doubt about the exact start time. Speaking on BBC Two's The Daily Politics, former Labour deputy leader Lord Hattersley urges the party to "attack our opponents" and implores the PM to "lead the fight" against David Cameron's Conservatives.

1405: Welcome to our live coverage of Gordon Brown's big speech to the Labour Party conference. I'll be keeping you in touch with all the news and views during the build-up - and I'll bring you all the key parts of the Brown speech as well as reaction from BBC experts, pundits and the blogosphere.


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