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Last Updated: Saturday, 2 June 2007, 17:41 GMT 18:41 UK
Brown stresses 'listening Labour'
Gordon Brown
Gordon Brown has been holding a question and answer session
Gordon Brown has pledged he will lead a listening government, as contenders for the deputy leadership role in the Labour Party held hustings in Glasgow.

The event was a chance for Scottish party members to have their say before a party vote at the end of the month.

Mr Brown is sole nominee for the top job but he is still touring the country outlining his leadership strategy.

He appeared to suggest the next general election would take place in 2009, but later stepped back from this.

'Independent oversight'

Six contenders are putting forward their case to be made deputy leader.

They are Hilary Benn, Hazel Blears, Jon Cruddas, Alan Johnson, Peter Hain and Harriet Harman.

Hustings
The deputy hopefuls have been facing party members

Mr Brown spoke to delegates and took questions from party members in a session chaired by Glasgow Council leader Steven Purcell.

He talked of the inspiration given to him by his father growing up in Kirkcaldy and said he had been trying to listen closely to people's concerns over the past 10 years.

Mr Brown said: "Whether it is by questionnaires, whether it is by mailing, e-mailing or holding meetings or talking to all the community groups in our area, people will not respect us unless they know that - as councillors, MSPs and MPs do already - we are seen to be listening at every stage."

At one stage he appeared to give away the date of the next general election as he told the audience that Labour had been kept out of power in the 1980s because it failed to address voters' concerns.

He continued: "That is why, when I was asked about what we can do to make it possible for us to win more seats in 2011 [the next scheduled Scottish Parliament election] and win the general election in 2009, we have to be the Labour party listening and involved with the people of this country."

But later he corrected himself, telling one questioner: "I was asked what we could do as a party to win the Scottish election in future and the general election - and I should say whenever the general election comes in the future."

During the meeting Mr Brown also touched on the issue of terrorism saying stronger measures would have to be put in place to give the authorities the power to intervene at earlier stages of an investigation.

He said: "That's why I support, for terrorists suspects, post-questioning interviewing.

"That's why we will need to strengthen the policing resources available. But at every stage I would say this.

"Because we are a country that believes in civil liberties of the individual, every time you have to strengthen the security measures that are necessary to protect our country, you also have to strengthen the accountability to parliament and the independent oversight of what police and other authorities are doing."

Deputy hopefuls also attended the meeting to face delegates in an effort to win support for their campaigns.

There is no guarantee that the deputy will get a senior job in government so questions to the deputy contenders have so far tended to focus on party organisation and campaigning.




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