Page last updated at 09:37 GMT, Wednesday, 24 September 2008 10:37 UK

Sarah 'surprised me', says Brown

Sarah Brown receives an ovation ahead of her introduction

Gordon Brown said he was "surprised" that his wife Sarah had wanted to take to the Labour Party conference stage to introduce him for his keynote speech.

He said he was "proud" of her and said it was her decision - adding that she had thought about it "for some time".

Mr Brown said Sarah, whose performance gained positive newspaper reviews, wanted to show that "we are a team".

Later he told the BBC it was "totally different" to politicians using their children as "props".

Mrs Brown's appearance on stage and her speech was unexpected and unprecedented at such an occasion in UK politics.

'No decision'

During his speech on Tuesday Mr Brown said he did not arrange for his children to appear in photographs with him because they were "people" not "props".

On Wednesday he explained, during an interview with BBC political editor Nick Robinson, what he saw as the difference between that position, and his wife addressing the Labour conference.

I'm so proud that every day I see him motivated to work for the best interests of people all around the country
Sarah Brown

"My wife and I had made a decision about being involved, as adults, in public life," he said.

"Our children are completely different if I may say ... They made no decision to do that."

He added their privacy should be protected as they grow up, but asked whether his speech was a dig at Conservative leader David Cameron he replied: "People do different things."

He said he mentioned it because he was always being asked about it, adding: "I have decided and she [Mrs Brown] has decided that when you have young children growing up they have got to have an ordinary childhood."

Earlier he told GMTV he would reveal certain items about his children publicly - such as when they had injections.

That was in contrast to former PM Tony Blair who refused to disclose whether his own children had had the controversial MMR jab.

Not only did Tuesday's appearance break with conference tradition, but it was also a rare public address by Mrs Brown, who usually keeps a low profile.

Mr Brown had been due to be introduced by Dianne Hayter, who chairs Labour's ruling National Executive Committee, but Mrs Brown apparently suggested, the night before, that she introduce him instead.

She told delegates she had "asked if I could have the chance today to talk briefly to you" ahead of what was seen as a crucial speech for Mr Brown as he faced continuing grumbling about his leadership.

Of her husband, she said: "I'm so proud that every day I see him motivated to work for the best interests of people all around the country.

"Sometimes in a world where there is so much to do we don't perhaps have enough time to celebrate what has been done."

Asked if Mrs Brown would begin to play a larger public role, Mr Brown told the BBC she did get involved in publicity for causes she was interested in - such as mothers' and childrens' health - and would continue to do so.


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