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Last Updated: Tuesday, 12 April, 2005, 11:34 GMT 12:34 UK
Cook says Brown could soon be PM
Robin Cook
Mr Cook said the public had issues of trust over Mr Blair
Ex-Cabinet minister Robin Cook says Gordon Brown will take over from Tony Blair "sooner rather than later".

Writing in the Evening Standard, the former minister said Blair allies had initially been confident Mr Brown could be ousted after the election.

But they now saw he was crucial because of his record as chancellor.

Mr Cook said Mr Blair would struggle with difficult policies like tuition fees as he had "lost the authority to sweep Labour MPs behind him".

He said during the current campaign, Labour staff had realised "they cannot get enough of the Brown magic".

Most successful

His record as chancellor was an asset as was the perception that he was honest and without spin.

"He has been the longest serving chancellor for a century simply because he has been the most successful.

"The economy has never stopped growing, investment in health and education has never been higher, the national debt has been dramatically cut and unemployment has vanished as a political issue."

Mr Cook said speculation that the Labour manifesto would contain a commitment to elections for the House of Lords, if true, would show that Mr Blair has been weakened. Mr Cook said Mr Blair had long opposed this.

The former minister, who resigned over the Iraq war, concluded: "Short of Labour increasing its majority, it is hard to see an outcome that will not leave Brown a stronger figure."





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