Page last updated at 16:40 GMT, Tuesday, 7 October 2008 17:40 UK

Brown 'keen' to visit Glenrothes

Gordon Brown
Mr Brown did not campaign personally in the Glasgow East by-election

Gordon Brown has indicated he is "very keen" to join Labour's by-election campaign in Glenrothes, new Scottish Secretary Jim Murphy has told the BBC.

The SNP hopes to repeat its Glasgow East success and take the seat from Labour on 6 November.

Mr Murphy said he had discussed the idea of the PM joining the campaign trail after Tuesday's cabinet meeting.

Mr Brown did not campaign in Glasgow East, citing the convention that PMs do not take part in by-elections.

But the Fife constituency of Glenrothes borders his own Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath seat and there has been speculation Mr Brown will join this campaign.

The writ for the Glenrothes by-election will be moved on 13 October with voting taking place on 6 November, opposition parties have been told.

Economic crisis

Mr Murphy, who succeeded Des Browne as Scottish secretary in the latest cabinet reshuffle, has been in the Fife town to join the campaign.

He said Mr Brown had indicated he was "very keen" to campaign personally in Glenrothes and he had discussed the prospect with him after Tuesday's cabinet meeting.

If he is able to do that and come to Glenrothes, I think he would be a great boost to our campaign
Jim Murphy

Mr Brown had said he wanted to do so if he could spare the time from dealing with the global economic crisis, he said.

Earlier he told BBC Radio Scotland: "I think it would be a real benefit to Labour's campaign if the prime minister can attend, so we'll be talking about that."

He added: "But I think most people in Glenrothes in truth would rather he was certain he was doing everything he could in the economic crisis.

"If he is able to do that and come to Glenrothes, I think he would be a great boost to our campaign, so I think it makes sense."

'Hostilities over'

Glenrothes was held with a majority of more than 10,000 by Labour MP John MacDougall at the 2005 general election - Mr MacDougall died in August.

All the parties have been campaigning in Glenrothes for some weeks. The SNP have accused the government of trying to "bury" the by-election by holding it two days after the US presidential election.

Labour has selected Lindsay Roy, the 59-year-old rector of Kirkcaldy High School, as its by-election candidate.

Peter Grant, leader of Fife Council, has been nominated by the SNP to contest the seat.

The Conservatives have chosen 28-year-old Maurice Golden, an environmental campaign manager for Keep Scotland Beautiful, while businessman Harry Wills will run for the Liberal Democrats.

The Scottish National Party hopes to repeat its success in Glasgow East and snatch the seat from Labour - it is seen by some as another test for Gordon Brown's leadership.

Mr Brown had faced calls for a leadership challenge from a dozen Labour rebels amid sliding poll ratings and a growing Conservative lead.

But after Labour's conference and amid the growing financial crisis the demands have died down.

One of the rebels, George Howarth, told a meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party on Monday that "hostilities are over" and the party must come together.



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