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Protester throws custard over Mandelson

Lord Mandelson has had a cup of green custard thrown in his face by an environmental protester. Skip related content

Campaign group Plane Stupid said 29-year-old activist Leila Deen carried out the stunt as the Business Secretary arrived at the launch of the Government's low carbon economy summit.

Scotland Yard said it has launched an inquiry into the "slime" attack.

Asked about the incident, Lord Mandelson said: "She was so busy throwing what seemed like green soup or something in my face that she failed to tell me what the protest was about, but as you can see thankfully is wasn't paint and I've come through it intact."

Ms Deen, who calmly walked away after the incident, said: "The only thing green about Peter Mandelson is the slime coursing through his veins.

"That Mandelson is trying to make political capital out of climate change just days after reports that he met with BAA's top lobbyists to push through the third runway is an insult to my generation."

Ms Deen accused Lord Mandelson of only representing business interests, adding that he was an unelected Government representative.

The police move comes after former Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott branded the attack "unacceptable".

Mr Prescott - who has been the target of similar protests in the past - insisted Ms Deen should have been arrested for assault on the spot.

"What is totally unacceptable is the way the woman walked away, claiming it was her right in democracy. She should have been arrested. It is not acceptable that she should be allowed to walk away after an assault," he said on his video blog.

"If it had been acid, would she still be walking away?

After the slime attack, Lord Mandelson quickly walked into the building where the summit is being held after the incident and emerged a few minutes later, minus his coat.

Addressing the summit, Prime Minister Gordon Brown made light of protest.

He said: "If anybody doubted the greening of Peter Mandelson and his willingness to take the green agenda on his shoulders we've seen it in practice on our television screens already this morning."

Plane Stupid has launched a series of high profile stunts in recent years against the Government's environmental policies.

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    Prime Minister of Britain
    The Rt Hon. Dr. James Gordon Brown MP (1997–present) MP

    The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the political leader of the United Kingdom and the Head of His/Her Majesty's Government. The Prime Minister and Cabinet (consisting of all the most senior government department heads) are collectively accountable for their policies and actions to the Sovereign, to Parliament (of which they are members), to their political party, and ultimately the electorate.

    The United Kingdom does not have a written constitution. The position of Prime Minister is the result of political evolution, rather than legislation. Modern Prime Ministers have few statutory powers but, provided they can command the support of their parliamentary party, they can control both the legislature (the House of Commons) and the executive (the Cabinet) and hence wield considerable de facto powers.

    The current Prime Minister of the United Kingdom is Gordon Brown.

    Style The Right Honourable
    Residence 10 Downing St
    London, UK
    Appointer Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom
    as sovereign
    Term length General Elections are held every five years at a minimum, but may be held sooner. The Prime Minister is by convention the leader of the victorious party. No term limits are imposed on the office.
    Inaugural holder Sir Robert Walpole (generally regarded as the first incumbent)
    Formation 4 April 1721

    Contacting the Prime Minister

    There are several ways to make your views known to the Prime Minister.

    Write to Number 10

    You can write to the PM at the following address:
    10 Downing Street,
    SW1A 2AA

    Email Number 10

    We have decided at this time that it is important to take another look at the E-mail Number 10 service to ensure that it meets the same high standards as the other content and communication measures that the website delivers. 

    Unfortunately, this means that we will be unable to replace the service as quickly as we had hoped, but we aim to have it up and running as soon as possible. Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience caused.

    Fax Number 10

    You can fax the Prime Minister on 020 7925 0918. (From outside the UK, the number is +442079250918)

    You may also wish to approach a government department or agency directly. Some departments now operate e-mail and telephone enquiry points, and some ministers also have e-mail addresses.

    Read a list of which departments are responsible for which issues, including departmental e-mail and postal addresses.

    List of Departments and Ministers (new window)

     The Rt Hon. Alistair Maclean Darling MP Chancellor of the Exchequer
     since 28 June 2007

    The Chancellor of the Exchequer is the title held by the British Cabinet minister who is responsible for all economic and financial matters. Often simply called The Chancellor, the office-holder controls HM Treasury and plays a role akin to the posts of Minister of Finance or Secretary of the Treasury in other nations. The position is considered one of the four Great Offices of StatePrime Minister. The office is the only remaining one of the four Great Offices of State to have never been filled by a woman. and in recent times has come to be the most powerful office in British politics after the

    The Chancellor of the Exchequer is now always Second Lord of the Treasury as one of the Lords Commissioners for executing the office of Lord High Treasurer. In the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries it was common for the Prime Minister to also serve as Chancellor of the Exchequer if he sat in the Commons; the last Chancellor who was simultaneously First Lord of the Treasury was W.E. Gladstone in 1882. Formerly, in cases when the Chancellorship was vacant, the Lord Chief Justice of the King's Bench would act as Chancellor pro tempore[1]. The last Lord Chief Justice to serve in this way was Lord Denman in 1834.

    The Chancellor is the third oldest major state office in English and British history, one which originally carried responsibility for the Exchequer, the medieval English institution for the collection of royal revenues. The Chancellor controlled monetary policy as well as fiscal policyBank of England was granted independent control of its interest rates. The Chancellor also has oversight of public spending across Government departments. until 1997, when the

    The office should not be confused with those of the Lord Chancellor or the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, both Cabinet posts, the Chancellor of the High Court, a senior judge, or the Lord Chief Baron of the Exchequer, a defunct judicial office.

    The current Chancellor of the Exchequer is Alistair Darling.

    Style: The Right Honourable
    Appointed by: Gordon Brown
    as Prime Minister
    First : Hervey de Stanton
    (England only)
    Formation: 22 June 1316

     The Rt Hon.
    Alistair Maclean Darling MP Chancellor of the Exchequer
     since 28 June 2007

    Rt. Hon. Lord Peter Mandelson

    Secretary of State for Business,
    Enterprise & Regulatory Reform for Britain
    Known as BERR

    Lord Mandelson was appointed Secretary of
     State for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform on 3 October 2008.

    BERR Autumn Performance Report 2008

    The BERR Autumn Performance Report 2008 gives the first public assessment of progress against our Departmental Strategic Objectives, and the Public Service Agreements for which BERR leads delivery, set at the 2007 Comprehensive Spending Review.

    Digital Britain

    Digital Britain (external link) is an action plan to secure the UK’s place at the forefront of innovation, investment and quality in the digital and communications industries.

    Action for Business

    Our Action for Business programme is focused on helping UK business overcome current financial and economic challenges.

    Pre-Budget Report 2008

    The UK economy: addressing long-term strategic challenges (external link) is a joint HM Treasury and Department for Business publication.


    Lord Mandelson is the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform.

    What we do

    Style: Broadcaster
    Joined: 17 April 2007
    Last Sign In: 23 hours ago
    Subscribers: 6,118
    Channel Views: 662,788
    Welcome to the Number10 YouTube channel. This is where you'll find exclusive films and features from Downing Street and the British Prime Minister.

    NEW: The Prime Minister has launched a regular initiative, 'Ask the PM', where he will be responding to the most popular questions submitted by the YouTube community. Submit videos on this channel by clicking the gadget to the right.

    Visit the website:
    Name: Number 10
    City: London
    Hometown: Westminster
    Country: United Kingdom

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    Gordon Brown

    James Gordon Brown MP (born 20 February 1951) is a British Labour politician and the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Brown assumed office in June 2007, after the resignation of Tony Blair and three days after becoming leader of the governing Labour Party. Before this, he served as Chancellor of the Exchequer in the Labour government from 1997 to 2007 under Blair.

    Brown has a PhD in history from the University of Edinburgh and spent his early career working as a TV journalist.[2][3] He has been a Member of Parliament since 1983; firstly for Dunfermline East and since 2005 for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath.[4][5] As Prime Minister, he also holds the positions of First Lord of the Treasury and the Minister for the Civil Service.

    Brown's time as Chancellor was marked by major reform of Britain's monetary and fiscal policy architecture, transferring interest rate setting powers to the Bank of England, by a wide extension of the powers of the Treasury to cover much domestic policy, and by largely benign economic conditions. His most controversial moves were the abolition of Advanced Corporation Tax (ACT) relief in his first budget - a move that received criticism for the effect it had on pension funds [6] - and removal of the 10p tax rate in his final 2007 budget.[7]

    His time as PM has been of mixed fortune, facing repercussions of the credit crunch and the associated nationalisation of Northern Rock, the 10p tax rate row, rising oil and petrol prices, and increased inflation. Brown has also suffered as a result of investigations into improper party donation accusations, a costly political battle over 42 day detention and heavy by-election defeats, notably Glasgow East. Despite an initial increase in personal and Labour popularity following his appointment as Leader and PM, Brown has presided over a dramatic decline in poll approval ratings personally and for the party.[8] During the summer of 2008 speculation arose of a potential challenge to Brown's leadership,[9] but the threat of a contest receded during October following the Labour Party Conference, the emergence of the financial crisis [10] and Labour's win in Glenrothes after a string of by-election loses.

    Early life and career before parliament

    Gordon Brown was born in Govan, Glasgow, Scotland.[11] His father was John Ebenezer Brown (1914–1998), a minister of the Church of Scotland and a strong influence on Gordon.[12] His mother Jessie Elizabeth Souter, known as Bunty, died in 2004 aged 86.[13] She was the daughter of John Souter, a timber merchant.[14] Gordon was brought up with his brothers John and Andrew Brown in a manse in Kirkcaldy — the largest town in Fife, Scotland across the Firth of Forth from Edinburgh.[15] In common with many other notable Scots, he is therefore often referred to as a "son of the manse". Brown was educated first at Kirkcaldy West Primary School where he was selected for an experimental fast stream education programme, which took him two years early to Kirkcaldy High School for an academic hothouse education taught in separate classes.[16] At age 16 he wrote that he loathed and resented this "ludicrous" experiment on young lives.[17]

    He was accepted by the University of Edinburgh to study history at the age of only 16. He suffered a retinal detachment after being kicked in the head during an end-of-term rugby unionblind in his left eye, despite treatment including several operations and lying in a darkened room for weeks at a time. Later at Edinburgh, while playing tennis, he noticed the same symptoms in his right eye. Brown underwent experimental surgery at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary and his eye was saved.[18] Brown graduated from Edinburgh with First Class Honours MA in 1972, and stayed on to complete his PhD (which he gained in 1982), titled The Labour Party and Political Change in Scotland 1918-29.[19] match at his old school. He was left

    In 1972, while still a student and with strong connections with the previous Dean of Admissions, Brown was elected Rector of the University of Edinburgh, the convener of the University Court.[20] Brown served as Rector until 1975, and he also edited The Red Paper on Scotland.[21]Politics at Glasgow College of Technology - in the 1979 general election, Brown stood for the Edinburgh South constituency and lost to the Conservative candidate, Michael Ancram.[19] From 1980 he worked as a journalist at Scottish Television, later serving as current affairs editor until his election to parliament in 1983.[22] From 1976 to 1980 he was employed as a lecturer in

    Election to parliament and opposition

    Gordon Brown was elected to Parliament on his second attempt as a Labour MP for Dunfermline East in 1983 general election and became opposition spokesman on Trade and Industry in 1985. In 1986, he published a biography of the Independent Labour Party politician James Maxton, the subject of his PhD thesis. Brown was Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury from 1987 to 1989 and then Shadow Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, before becoming Shadow Chancellor in 1992.[19][23]

    Having led the Labour Movement Yes campaign, refusing to join the cross-party Yes for Scotland1979 Scottish devolution referendum, while other senior Labour politicians - including Robin Cook, Tam Dalyell and Brian Wilson - campaigned for a No vote, Brown was subsequently a key participant in the Scottish Constitutional Convention, signing the Claim of Right for Scotland in 1989.[24] campaign, during the

    After the sudden death of Labour leader John Smith in May 1994, Brown was tipped as a potential party leader,[25] but did not contest the leadership after Tony Blair became favourite. It has long been rumoured a deal was struck between Blair and Brown at the former Granita restaurant in Islington, in which Blair promised to give Brown control of economic policy in return for Brown not standing against him in the leadership election.[26] Whether this is true or not, the relationship between Blair and Brown has been central to the fortunes of "New Labour", and they have mostly remained united in public, despite reported serious private rifts.[27]

    As Shadow Chancellor, Brown worked to present himself as a fiscally competent Chancellor-in-waiting, to reassure business and the middle class that Labour could be trusted to run the economy without fuelling inflation, increasing unemployment, or overspending — legacies of the 1970s. He publicly committed Labour to following the Conservatives' spending plans for the first two years after taking power.[28][29]

    Following a reorganisation of parliamentary constituencies in Scotland, Brown became MP for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath at the 2005 election.[30]

    Chancellor of the Exchequer

    Brown's ten years and two months as Chancellor of the Exchequer made him the longest-serving Chancellor in modern history.[18]

    The Prime Minister's website singles out three achievements in particular from Brown's decade as Chancellor: presiding over "the longest ever period of growth", making the Bank of England independent and delivering an agreement on poverty and climate change at the G8 summit in 2005.[19] However, critics of Brown's record as Chancellor point out that he was fortunate to inherit a strong economy from the Conservatives.[31]

    Acts as chancellor

    • Gold sales: Between 1999 and 2002 Brown sold 60% of the UK's gold reserves at $275 an ounce.[39] It was later attacked as a "disastrous foray into international asset management"[40] as he had sold at close to a 20-year low. He pressured the IMF to do the same,[41] but it resisted. The gold sales have earned him the pejorative nicknameGolden Brown', after the song by The Stranglers.[42] '
    • Spectrum auctions: Under Brown, telecom radio frequency auctions gathered £22.5 billion for the government. By using a system of sealed bids and only selling a restricted number of licences, they extracted high prices from the telecom operators.[43] Germanyrecession in the European telecoms development industry (2001 Telecoms crash) with the loss of 100,000 jobs across Europe, 30,000 of those in the UK.[44] But, as Paul Klemperer, one of the designers of the auctions, points out, "[t]he United States held no 3G auctions, yet telecoms companies lost just as much: in fact, they lost more."[45] at this time applied a similar auction; some allege that these together caused a severe
    • Debt relief and development: Brown believes it is appropriate to remove much of the unpayable Third World debt but does not think all debt should be wiped out.[46] On 20 April 2006, in a speech to the United Nations Ambassadors, Brown outlined a "Green" view of global development.


    In the 1997 election and subsequently, Brown pledged to not increase the basic or higher rates of income tax. Over his Chancellorship, he reduced the basic rate from 23% to 20%. However, in all but his final budget, Brown increased the tax thresholds in line with inflation, rather than earnings, resulting in fiscal drag. Corporation tax fell under Brown, from a main rate of 33% to 28%, and from 24% to 19% for small businesses.[47]

    In 1999, Brown introduced a lower tax band of 10%. He abolished this in his last budget in 2007 to reduce the basic rate from 22% to 20%, increasing tax for 5 million people,[48] and, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies leaving those earning between under £18,000 as the biggest losers.[49]

    Analysis of policies as chancellor

    • Growth: Brown states that his chancellorship had seen the longest period of sustained economic growth in the history of the United Kingdom.[50][51] The details in Brown's growth figures have been challenged.[52][53]
    • Anti-poverty: The Centre for Policy Studies found that the poorest fifth of households, which accounted for 6.8% of all taxes in 1996–7, accounted for 6.9% of all taxes paid in 2004-5. Meanwhile, their share of state benefit payouts dropped from 28.1% to 27.1% over the same period.[54]
    • Tax: According to the OECD UK taxation has increased from a 39.3% share of gross domestic product in 1997 to 42.4% in 2006, going to a higher level than Germany.[55] This increase has mainly been attributed to active government policy, and not simply to the growing economy.
    • Pensions: Conservatives have accused Brown of imposing "stealth taxes". A commonly reported example resulted in 1997 from a technical change in the way corporation tax is collected, the indirect effect of which was for the dividends on stock investments held within pensions to be taxed, thus lowering pension returns and contributing to the demise of some pension funds.[56] The Treasury contend that this tax change was crucial to long-term economic growth.

    Other policy stances as chancellor

    • Higher education: In 2000, Brown started a political row about higher educationLaura Spence Affair) when he accused the University of Oxford of elitism in its admissions procedures, describing its decision not to offer a place to state school pupil Laura Spence as "absolutely outrageous".[57] Lord Jenkins, then Oxford Chancellor and himself a former Labour Chancellor of the Exchequer, said "nearly every fact he used was false."[58] (referred to as the
    • Anti-racism and popular culture: During a diplomatic visit to India in January 2007, Brown responded to questions concerning perceived racism and bullying against Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty on the British reality TV show Celebrity Big Brother saying, "There is a lot of support for Shilpa. It is pretty clear we are getting the message across. Britain is a nation of tolerance and fairness."[59] He later said the debate showed Britain wanted to be "defined by being a tolerant, fair and decent country."[60]

    Links with nuclear power industry

    A link was reported between Brown's brother Andrew and one of the main nuclear lobbyists, EDF Energy,[61] given the finding that the government did not carry a proper public consultation on the use of nuclear power in its 2006 Energy Review.[62] Attention has also been drawn to the fact[63] that the father-in-law of Brown's closest adviser Ed Balls, Tony Cooper (father of the Labour minister Yvette Cooper) has close links with the nuclear industry. Cooper was described as an "articulate, persuasive and well-informed advocate of nuclear power over the last ten years" by the Nuclear Industry Association on his appointment as Chairman of the British Nuclear Industry Forum in June 2002. He is also a member of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and was appointed to the Energy Advisory Panel by the previous Conservative administration.[64]

    Run up to succeeding Blair

    Main articles Labour Party leadership election, 2007 and Timeline for the Labour Party leadership elections, 2007

    In October 2004 Tony Blair announced he would not lead the party into a fourth general election, but would serve a full third term.[65] Political controversy over the relationship between Brown and Blair continued up to and beyond the 2005 election, which Labour won with a reduced parliamentary majority and reduced vote share. The two campaigned together but the British media remained — and remains — full of reports on their mutual acrimony.

    Blair, under pressure from within his own party, announced on 7 September 2006 that he would step down within a year.[66] Brown was the clear favourite to succeed Blair for several years with experts and the bookmakers; he was the only candidate spoken of seriously in Westminster. Appearances and news coverage leading up to the handover were interpreted as preparing the ground for Brown to become Prime Minister, in part by creating the impression of a statesman with a vision for leadership and global change. Blair famously described Brown as the "great clunking fist", supposedly as a warning to his political opponents. Sceptics have said Blair's description was a deliberate attempt to label Brown as an unsubtle and one-dimensional policial operator.

    Brown is the first prime minister from a Scottish constituency since the Conservative/SUP Sir Alec Douglas-Home in 1964. He is also one of only five prime ministers who attended a university other than Oxford or Cambridge, along with the Earl of Bute (Leiden), Lord John RussellEdinburgh), Andrew Bonar Law (University of Glasgow), and Neville Chamberlain (Mason Science College, later Birmingham).[67] (

    On 9 September 2006 Charles Clarke said in an interview that the Chancellor had "psychological" issues he must confront and accused him of being a "control freak" and "totally uncollegiate". Brown was also "deluded", Clarke said, to think Blair can and should anoint him as his successor now.[68] Environment Secretary David Miliband stressed his support for Brown.[69]

    From January 2007 the media reported Brown had now "dropped any pretence of not wanting, or expecting, to move into Number 10 in the next few months" — although he and his family use the more spacious 11 Downing Street.[70] This enabled Brown to signal the most significant priorities for his agenda as Prime Minister; speaking at a Fabian Society conference on 'The Next Decade' in January 2007, he stressed education, international development, narrowing inequalities (to pursue 'equality of opportunity and fairness of outcome'), renewing Britishness, restoring trust in politics, and winning hearts and minds in the war on terror as key priorities.[71]

    In March 2007 Brown's character was attacked by Lord Turnbull who worked for Brown as Permanent Secretary at the Treasury from 1998 to 2002. Turnbull accused Brown of running the Treasury with "Stalinist ruthlessness" and treating Cabinet colleagues with "more or less complete contempt".[72] This was especially picked-up on by the British media as the comments were made on the eve of Brown's budget report.

    Prime Minister

    Brown ceased to be Chancellor and, upon the approval of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, became the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom on 27 June 2007.[4] Like all modern Prime Ministers, Brown concurrently serves as the First Lord of the Treasury and the Minister for the Civil Service, and is a member of the Cabinet of the United Kingdom and, hence, also a Privy Counsellor. He is also Leader of the Labour Party and Member of Parliament for the constituency of Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath. He is the sixth post-war prime minister, of a total of 12, to assume the role without having won a general election.[73]


    Brown has proposed moving some traditional prime ministerial powers conferred by royal prerogative to the realm of Parliament, such as the power to declare war and approve appointments to senior positions. Brown wants Parliament to gain the right to ratify treaties and have more oversight into the intelligence services. He has also proposed moving some powers from Parliament to citizens, including the right to form "citizens' juries", easily petition Parliament for new laws, and rally outside Westminster. He has asserted that the attorney general should not have the right to decide whether to prosecute in individual cases, such as in the loans for peerages scandal.[74]

    During his Labour leadership campaign, Brown proposed some policy initiatives, suggesting that a Brown-led government would introduce the following:[75][76]

    • End to corruption: Following the cash for honours scandal, Brown emphasised cracking down on corruption. Brown has announced a new ministerial code which sets out clear standards of behaviour for ministers.[77]
    • Constitutional reform: Brown has not stated whether he proposes a U.S.-style written constitution — something the UK has never had — or a looser bill of rights. He said in a speech when announcing his bid that he wants a “better constitution” that is “clear about the rights and responsibilities of being a citizen in Britain today”. He plans to set up an all-party convention to look at new powers for Parliament. This convention may also look at rebalancing powers between Whitehall and local government. Brown has said he will give Parliament the final say on whether British troops are sent into action in future.
    • Housing: House planning restrictions are likely to be relaxed. Brown said he wants to release more land and ease access to ownership with shared equity schemes. He backed a proposal to build new eco-towns, each housing between 10,000 and 20,000 homeowners — up to 100,000 new homes in total.
    • Health: Brown intends to have doctors' surgeries open at the weekends, and GPs on call in the evenings. Doctors were given the right of opting out of out-of-hours care two years ago, under a controversial pay deal, signed by then-Health Secretary John Reid, which awarded them a 22% pay rise in 2006. Brown stated that the NHS was his "top priority", yet he had just cut the capital budget of the English NHS from £6.2bn to £4.2bn.[78]

    The Brown government was involved in controversy in April 2008 over the decision to scrap the 10p Income Tax Band and he was forced into making concessions. In the local elections on 1 May 2008, Labour suffered their worst results in 40 years finishing in third place with a projected 24% share of the national vote.[79] Subsequently the party has seen the loss of by-elections in Nantwich and Crewe and Henley as well as slumps in the polls. A by election in Glasgow East triggered by the resignation of David Marshall saw the Labour party struggle to appoint a candidate, eventually settling for a 5th choice, a sitting MSP in the Scottish Parliament Margaret Curran. The SNP, Conservatives and Liberal Democrats have all derided the party for their disorganised nature with Alex Salmond commenting "This is their 'lost weekend' - they don't have a leader in Scotland, they don't have a candidate in Glasgow East, and they have a prime minister who refuses to come to the constituency".[80] A former Labour spin doctor has commented that the loss of a safe seat in Glasgow (one of the safest Labour seats in the country) would indicate to Gordon Brown that any MP with a majority of less than 13,500 would be unsafe and his position as Prime Minister would be untenable.[81] The unthinkable result became a reality when the seat experienced a massive swing of 22.54% in one of Labours safest heartland areas, and the constituency was lost to the Scottish National Party's John Mason who took 11,277 votes with Labour just 365 behind.

    Foreign policy

    Brown remains committed to the Iraq War, but said in a speech in June 2007 that he would "learn the lessons" from the mistakes made in Iraq.[82]

    Brown made his first overseas trip as Prime Minister to Berlin, where he spoke with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

    In a speech given to the Labour Friends of Israel in April 2007, Brown stated:

    Many of you know my interest in Israel and in the Jewish community has been long-standing…My father was the chairman of the Church of Scotland's Israel Committee. Not only as I've described to some of you before did he make visits on almost two occasions a year for 20 years to Israel — but because of that, although Fife, where I grew up, was a long way from Israel with no TV pictures to link us together — I had a very clear view from household slides and projectors about the history of Israel, about the trials and tribulations of the Jewish people, about the enormous suffering and loss during the Holocaust, as well as the extraordinary struggle that he described to me of people to create this magnificent homeland.[83]

    Brown said in a letter published 17 March 2008 that the United Kingdom will hold an inquiry into the Iraq war -- but not soon.[84]British Prime Minister Gordon Brown will skip the opening ceremony of the 2008 Summer Olympics, on 8 August 2008 in Beijing, it was reported on 9 April 2008. But, he will not be boycotting the Olympics and will attend the closing ceremony, on 24 August 2008. Brown has been under intense pressure from human rights campaigners to send a message to China, concerning the 2008 Tibetan unrest. But his decision not to attend the opening ceremony is not an act of protest, the decision was made weeks ago and was not a stand on principle.[85]

    Diplomatic relationship with the U.S.

    There has been widespread speculation on the nature of the UK's relationship with the United States under Brown's government. A Washington, D.C. speech by Brown's close aide Douglas Alexander was widely reported as both a policy shift and a message to the U.S:[86] "In the 21st century, strength should be measured on what we can build together…we need to demonstrate by our deeds, words and our actions that we are internationalist, not isolationist, multilateralist, not unilateralist, active and not passive, and driven by core values, consistently applied, not special interests."

    However Downing Street's spokesman strongly denied the suggestion that Alexander was trying to distance Britain from U.S. foreign policy and show that Britain would not necessarily, in Tony Blair's words, stand "shoulder to shoulder" with George W. Bush over future military interventions:[87] "I thought the interpretation that was put on Douglas Alexander's words was quite extraordinary. To interpret this as saying anything at all about our relationship with the U.S. is nonsense."

    Brown personally clarified his position;[88]"We will not allow people to separate us from the United States of America in dealing with the common challenges that we face around the world. I think people have got to remember that the relationship between Britain and America and between a British prime minister and an American president is built on the things that we share, the same enduring values about the importance of liberty, opportunity, the dignity of the individual. I will continue to work, as Tony Blair did, very closely with the American administration."

    The "non-election"

    Gordon Brown caused controversy during September and early October 2007 by letting speculation continue on whether he would call a snap general election. Following the negative reaction to his visit to British troops in Iraq during the Conservative Conference, David Cameron's 'off the cuff' speech and an opinion poll showing Labour 6% behind the Conservative Party in key marginal seats, he finally announced that there would be no election in the near future and seemed to rule out an election in 2008. He was subsequently accused by his political opponents as being a ditherer and indecisive. Cameron accused Brown of "bottling" the election because of opinion polls, which Brown denied.[89]

    Military covenant

    November 2007 saw Brown face intense criticism of not adhering to the 'military covenant', a convention within British politics stating that in exchange for them putting their lives at risk for the sake of national security, the armed forces should in turn be suitably looked after by the government.[90] Criticism has come from several former Chiefs of Defence, including GeneralLord Guthrie, Admiral Lord Boyce, Marshal of the Royal Air Force Lord Craig, Field Marshal Lord Bramall and Field Marshal Lord Inge.[91][92] Poor housing, lack of equipment and adequate healthcare provisions are some of the major issues Brown has been accused of neglecting.

    European Union

    Brown has continued to be dogged by controversy about not holding a referendum on the EU Treaty of Lisbon. On the morning of 13 December 2007, Foreign Secretary David Miliband had to stand in for the Prime Minister at the official signing ceremony in Lisbon of the EU Reform Treaty, which was attended by all other European heads of government. Brown was otherwise engaged at the House of Commons, appearing before the Liaison Committee, and travelled to Portugal to sign the treaty in the afternoon which the EU leaders had signed in the morning. Brown come under heavy fire from opponents on both sides of the House and in the press, who suggested that neither Brown nor Labour had a mandate to ratify the treaty without public assent. Conservative leader David Cameron pointed to Labour's 2005 manifesto, which had pledged to give British public a referendum on the original EU Constitution.[93][94] Brown argued that the Treaty significantly differed from the Constitution, and as such did not require a referendum. He also responded with plans for a lengthy debate on the topic, and stated that he believed the document to be too complex to be decided by referendum.[95]

    42-Day Detention

    Following the rejection of a previous bill under Tony Blair's government to allow for terror suspects to be detained for up to 90 days without charge,[96] Brown championed a new bill extending this pre-charge detention period to 42 days. The bill was met with hostility on both sides of the House and, facing a growing backbench rebellion, it is alleged[97] that a number of deals were done behind the scenes to ensure a victory for Brown in the vote on this issue. In the end, the bill passed with just 9 votes. Many commentators view this as a pyrrhic victory as Brown had to rely upon the support of a renegade Conservative MP, Ann Widdecombe, and the votes of a handful of Democratic Unionist MPs. In a session of Prime Ministers' Questions some weeks later, David Cameron challenged Brown to concede on record that "no deals were done" in ensuring the bill was passed. Brown stood up before the House and gave a one-word response of "Yes". To uproar, Cameron proceeded to quote from a letter written by Geoff Hoon, Labour's Chief Whip, to the Chairman of the Home Affairs Committee, Keith Vaz, in which Hoon expressed deep thanks for Vaz's support and in addition signed off the letter with the line "I trust that you will be appropriately rewarded."[98] Hoon has claimed that this was just a joke between friends but others have viewed this letter as proof that deals were indeed done behind the scenes and that Brown was lying when he went on record as stating that no such deals were done.[99]

    The House of Lords crushingly defeated the law, with Lords characterising it as "fatally flawed, ill thought through and unnecessary", stating that "it seeks to further erode [...] fundamental legal and civil rights".[100]

    Plots against leadership

    The first signs of internal disquiet towards Brown's policies surfaced as early as May 2008. Brown, in his 2007 budget, his last as Chancellor, abolished the 10% income tax rate for the lowest earners (5.1 million people), increasing their rate to the next highest, 20%. Earners who fell within the 22% tax rate band had their rate reduced to 20%, and tax allowances were also made for over-65s.[7] These measures came into effect in April 2008. The "10p tax rate cut" as it was commonly referred to, was sharply criticized by Frank Field and several other backbenchers. Field also made comments saying that Brown did not seem to be enjoying his job. Health Secretary Alan Johnson believed that Field was motivated primarily by a personal dislike of Brown,[101] and Field later apologized, saying that he had regretted allowing his campaign to "become personal".[102] In the face of protests such as this though, Chancellor Alistair Darling cut the tax rate for 22 million people, and borrowed around £2.7 bn to reimburse those on lower and middle incomes who had suffered.[103]

    In the summer of 2008, Brown's leadership was presented with a fresh challenge as a large number of senior MPs openly called for him to resign. This event was dubbed the 'Lancashire Plot', as two backbenchers from North West England urged him to step down and a third questioned his chances of holding on to the Labour Party leadership. Several MPs argued that if Brown did not recover in the polls by early 2009, he should call for a leadership contest. However, certain prominent MPs, such as Jacqui Smith and Bill Rammell, suggested that Brown was the right person to lead Britain through its economic crisis.[104]

    A second assault upon Brown's premiership was launched in the autumn of that year, when Siobhain McDonagh, a MP who during her time in office had never voted against the government,[105] spoke of the need for discussion over Brown's position. McDonagh, a junior government whip, was sacked from her role shortly afterwards, on September 12. Whilst McDonagh did not state that she wanted Brown deposed, she implored the Labour party to hold a leadership election.[106] McDonagh spoke of a "huge number" of Labour MPs who wanted a leadership election; her views were somewhat substantiated in the following days when several Labour MPs, including Field, Joan Ryan (who applied, as McDonagh had, for leadership nomination papers, and became the second rebel to be fired from her job), Jim Dowd, Greg Pope, and a string of others who had previously held positions in government, made clear their desire for a contest.[107] In an unrelated incident, 12 backbenchers signed their names to a letter criticizing Brown in Progress magazine.[106] Eric Joyce, one of the MPs who signed this letter, said that Brown's future hinged on his performance at the upcoming Labour party conference.[107]

    A Downing Street source responded to these revelations by stating that, "The Blairites have been talking up the idea of loads of ministers resigning. But the best they can come up with is an assistant government whip." Tony Lloyd, chairman of the parliamentary Labour Party, labelled the rebellion a "bit of a sideshow",[107] and Emily Thornberry MP called Brown the "best qualified" to lead Britain through the economic crisis of 2008.[106] The Labour party admitted that it had received letters from a small number of MPs querying why no nomination papers had been released.[106]

    In the face of this growing speculation over Brown's future, the majority of his ministers also backed him to lead the party, and two, Harriet Harman and David Miliband, vigorously denied that they were preparing leadership bids. After the shock loss that Labour suffered in the Glasgow East by-election in July, Harman, the deputy leader of the party, suppressed rumours regarding her intentions, saying that Brown was the "solution", not the "problem"; Home Secretary Smith, Justice Secretary Jack Straw, Schools Secretary Ed Balls and Cabinet Office Minister Ed Miliband all re-affirmed their support for Brown.[108] The deputy Prime Minister under Blair, John Prescott, also pledged his support.[109] Foreign Secretary David Miliband was then forced to deny that he was plotting a leadership bid, when on July 30, an article written by him in The Guardian was interpreted by a large number in the media as an attempt to undermine Brown. In the article, Miliband outlined the party's future, but neglected to mention the Prime Minister. Miliband, who had been forced to quell rumours that he would run against Brown in the leadership election of 2007, responded to this by saying that he was confident Brown could lead Labour to victory in the next general election, and that his article was an attack against the fatalism that had dogged the party since the loss of Glasgow-East.[110] Miliband continued to show his support for Brown in the face of the challenge that emerged in September, as did Business Secretary John Hutton, Environment Secretary Hilary Benn, and Chief Whip Geoff Hoon.[111]

    Depictions of Brown in popular culture

    Brown's reputed dourness while holding a high public office comes across in the way he is portrayed on both the screen — where he was played by David Morrissey in the Stephen FrearsTV movie The Deal and by Peter Mullan in the TV movie The Trial of Tony Blair — and stage: he features as a character in the 2007 Musical TONY! The Blair Musical, written by Chris Bush and Ian McCluskey. During its run in York, he was played by Bush, and then by Michael Slater at the 2007 Edinburgh Fringe Festival and subsequently at the Pleasance Theatre in Islington, London. Also drawing on this perception, radio presenter Nick Abbot plays a sound effect of Darth Vader because of the way Gordon Brown's jaw appears to detach as he breathes in. directed

    In keeping with its tradition of having a comic strip for every Prime Minister, Private Eye features a comic strip, The Broonites (itself a parody of The Broons), parodying Brown's government. The Eye has also started a column titled Prime Ministerial Decree,[112] a parody of statements that would be issued by Communist governments in the former Eastern Bloc. This is in reference to a criticism of Brown having "Stalinist tendencies".[113]

    Gordon Brown was depicted in Season 12 of South Park sitting at a table of world leaders opposite Nicolas Sarkozy in the episode "Canada on Strike". He was portrayed speaking in an English accent, reflecting his alleged jettisoning of his native Scottish accent.[114]

    Brown makes an appearance in the first issue of Marvel Comics' Captain Britain and MI: 13, overseeing Britain's response to the Skrull invasion of Earth.[115][116][117]

    Married life and family

    Brown's early girlfriends included the journalist Sheena McDonald, Marion Caldwell[23] and Princess Margarita, the eldest daughter of exiled King Michael of Romania. She has said about their relationship: "It was a very solid and romantic story. I never stopped loving him but one day it didn't seem right any more, it was politics, politics, politics, and I needed nurturing."[118]

    Brown married Sarah Macaulay in a private ceremony at his home in North Queensferry, Fife, on 3 August 2000.[119] On 28 December 2001, a daughter, Jennifer Jane, was born prematurely and died on 8 January 2002. Gordon Brown commented at the time that their recent experiences had changed him and his wife:

    I don't think we'll be the same again, but it has made us think of what's important. It has made us think that you've got to use your time properly. It's made us more determined. Things that we feel are right we have got to achieve, we have got to do that. Jennifer is an inspiration to us.[120]

    They have two children, John Macaulay[121] and James Fraser. In November 2006, James Fraser was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis.[122]

    Sarah Brown generally keeps a low profile, rarely making official appearances either with or without her husband, in contrast to Cherie Blair. She is inevitably much sought after to give interviews, although is reluctant to do so.[123] However, she is patron of several charities, and has written articles for national newspapers related to this.[124]. At the 2008 Labour Party Conference, Mrs Brown caused surprise by taking to the stage to introduce her husband for his keynote address[125].

    Despite predictions to the contrary, the Browns have fallen in love with Chequers. They spend most weekends there, the house often being filled with friends, editors, sportsmen and actors, as well as politicians. They have even entertained the Beckhams and local dignitaries like Sir Leonard Figg, revealing a certain "obsession"[126] with the place.

    He is also a big fan of heavy metal music, as revealed in the music documentary Anvil, produced by Brown's brother-in-law. [127]

    Of his two brothers, John Brown is Head of Public Relations in the Glasgow City Council.[128] His brother Andrew Brown has been Head of Media Relations in the UK for the French-owned utility company EDF Energy since 2004. He was previously director of media strategy at the world's largest public relations firm Weber Shandwick from June 2003 to 2004. Previously he was editor of the Channel 4 political programme Powerhouse from 1996 to 2003, and worked at the BBC[129] from the late 1970s to early 1980s.

    Titles and honours


    • Mr. James Gordon Brown
    • Dr. James Gordon Brown (1982–1983)
    • Dr. James Gordon Brown MP (1983–1997)
    • The Rt Hon Dr. James Gordon Brown MP (1997–present)


    See also

    Electoral history:


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      43. ^ ""BBC News - Row over 42-day 'reward' letter"". Retrieved on 2008-07-02.
      44. ^ ""The Times - Labour denies Keith Vaz offered 'reward' for backing government"". Retrieved on 2 July, 2008. See also: ""The Guardian - There were no deals over 42 day vote, insists Brown"". Retrieved on 12 June, 2008.
      45. ^ Jacqui Smith creates 'emergency bill' after 42-day detention defeat, The Daily Telegraph, 14 October 2008
      46. ^ "Downing St brushes off criticism". BBC News (2008-05-12). Retrieved on 2008-09-16.
      47. ^ "Who are the rebels?". BBC News (2008-09-16). Retrieved on 2008-09-16.
      48. ^ Philip Webster (2008-05-14). "Gordon Brown pays £2.7 billion to end 10p tax crisis". The Times. Retrieved on 2008-09-16.
      49. ^ ""The Independent- Cabinet backs Brown but 'Lancashire plot' sparks open warfare"". Retrieved on 29 July, 2008.
      50. ^ "Profile: Siobhain McDonagh". BBC News (2008-09-12). Retrieved on 2008-09-14.
      51. ^ a b c d "Whip sacked over leader bid call". BBC News (2008-09-12). Retrieved on 2008-08-14.
      52. ^ a b c Jonathan Oliver, Marie Woolf (2008-09-14). "Ex-ministers join Gordon Brown rebellion". The Times. Retrieved on 2008-09-14.
      53. ^ "Harman denies planning leader bid". BBC News (2008-07-29). Retrieved on 2008-09-14.
      54. ^ "Prescott warns over PM challenge". BBC News (2008-07-27). Retrieved on 2008-09-14.
      55. ^ "Miliband denies 'leadership' bid". BBC News (2008-07-30). Retrieved on 2008-09-14.
      56. ^ "Miliband throws support behind PM". BBC News (2008-09-14). Retrieved on 2008-09-14.
      57. ^ "Decree From the Supreme Leader".
      58. ^ Assinder, Nick. Brown's Budget trick, BBC News, 21 March 2007.
      59. ^ Gordon, Tom. Growling Gordon finds new voice as ‘estuawy Bwown’, The Times, 27 May 2007.
      60. ^ Captain Britain and MI: 13 #1
      61. ^ Have no fear, SuperGordon is here to help save the world - but only in new comic book 'Captain Britain', Daily Mail, 2 June 2008.
      62. ^ Prime Minister turns comic book hero, The Sunday Mail 1 June 2008.
      63. ^ "Gordon Brown profiled". The Guardian (6 March 2001).
      64. ^ "BBC News". Retrieved on 23 September, 2007.
      65. ^ Losing baby has changed us forever, says Brown, The Telegraph 6 February 2002 Accessed 10 June 2007
      66. ^ "Chancellor's daughter remembered at christening service".
      67. ^ ""BBC News". Retrieved on 23 September, 2007.
      68. ^ "Wife will seek to stay out of the limelight", The Daily Telegraph (2007-05-12). Retrieved on 10 June 2007. 
      69. ^ Brown, Sarah (2006-11-11). "Why I want you to get behind Maggie's", The Scotsman. Retrieved on 25 May 2008. 
      70. ^ "Sarah Brown steps into spotlight". Retrieved on 2008-09-30.
      71. ^ "Alice Thomson, No PM, However Dour, can Resist the Charms of a Stately Pile, The Times, 24 July 2008".
      72. ^ "Thursday quote of the day".
      73. ^ Mackay, Neil (20 February 2000). "this woman could save you £40 m", The Sunday Herald. 
      74. ^ Andrew Brown to head media team at EDF Energy, EDF Energy, 13 September 2004





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    Alistair Maclean Darling
     (28 November 1953) is a British politician and Chancellor of the Exchequer since 28 June 2007. He is Labour Party Member of Parliament for Edinburgh South West in Scotland.

    Early life

    Darling was born in London,[1] the son of a civil engineer, Thomas, and his wife, Anna. He is the great-nephew of Sir William Darling who was Conservative MP for Edinburgh South (1945–1957). He was educated in Kirkcaldy, and the private Loretto School, Musselburgh, East Lothian, then attended the University of Aberdeen where he was awarded a Bachelor of LawsInternational Marxist Group, the British section of the Trotskyist Fourth International.[2][3][4] He became a solicitor in 1978, then changed course for the Scots bar and was admitted as an advocate in 1984. He was elected as a councillor to the Lothian Regional Council in 1982 where he supported large rates rises in defiance of Margaret Thatcher's rate-capping laws and even threatened not to set a rate at all.[2] He served on the council until he was elected to Parliament. He was also a board member for the Lothian and Borders Police and became a governor of Napier College in 1985 for two years.

    (LL.B). He became the head of Aberdeen University Students Union. Before joining the Labour Party at the age of 23 in 1977, Darling was a supporter of the

    Member of Parliament

    He entered Parliament at the 1987 General Election in Edinburgh Central defeating the sitting Conservative MP Sir Alexander Fletcher by 2,262 votes, and has remained an MP since.

    After the creation of the Scottish Parliament the number of Scottish seats at Westminster was reduced, his Edinburgh Central seat was abolished. Since the 2005 election he has represented Edinburgh South West. The Labour Party was so concerned that Darling might be defeated, several senior party figures, including Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott and ChancellorGordon Brown, made supportive visits to the constituency during the election campaign. Despite being a senior Cabinet minister himself, Darling was hardly seen outside the area, as he was making the maximum effort to win his seat. In the event, he won it with a majority of 7,242 over the second-placed Conservative candidate, a 16.49% margin on a 65.4% turnout.

    [edit] Shadow Cabinet

    As a backbencher he sponsored the Solicitors (Scotland) Act 1988.[5] He soon became an Opposition Home Affairs spokesman in 1988 on the frontbench of Neil Kinnock.

    After the 1992 General Election he became a spokesman on Treasury Affairs until being promoted to Tony Blair's Shadow Cabinet as the Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury in 1996.

    In Government

    Following the 1997 General Election he entered Cabinet as the Chief Secretary to the Treasury; he is one of only three people who have been in the Cabinet ever since (the others are Gordon Brown and Jack Straw).

    In 1998 he was made the Secretary of State for Social Security replacing Harriet Harman who had been dismissed. After the 2001 General Election, the department for Social Security was abolished and replaced with the new Department for Work and Pensions, which also took employment away from the education portfolio, Darling headed the new department until 2002 when he was transferred to the Department for Transport, in the wake of his predecessor Stephen Byers resigning.

    ransport Secretary

    Darling was given a brief to "take the department out of the headlines" and was widely considered to have achieved this, although he was also criticised for achieving too little else whilst he held the transport brief. He oversaw the creation of Network Rail, the successor to Railtrack, which had collapsed in controversial circumstances for which his predecessor was largely blamed. He also procured the passage of the legislation - the Railways and Transport Safety Act 2003 - which abolished the Rail Regulator and replaced it with the Office of Rail Regulation. He was responsible for the Railways Act 2005 which abolished the Strategic Rail Authority, a creation of the Labour government under the Transport Act 2000. Darling was also responsible for the cancellation of several major Light Rail schemes.

    Although he was not at the Department for Transport at the time of the collapse of Railtrack, Darling vigorously defended what had been done in a speech to the House of Commons on 24 October 2005. This included the making of threats to the independent Rail Regulator that if he intervened to defend the company against the government's attempts to force it into railway administration - a special status for insolvent railway companies - the government would introduce emergency legislation to take the regulator under direct political control. This stance by Darling surprised many observers because during his tenure at the Department for Transport he had made several statements to Parliament and the financial markets assuring them that the government regarded independence in economic regulation of the railways as essential.

    After the Scottish Office was folded into the Department for Constitutional Affairs, he was made Scottish Secretary in combination with his transport portfolio in 2003. In the Cabinet reshuffle of May 2006, he was moved to the position of Secretary of State for Trade and Industry; Douglas Alexander replaced him as both Secretary of State for Transport and Secretary of State for Scotland. On 10 November 2006 in a mini-reshuffle, Malcolm Wicks, the Minister for Energy at the Department for Trade and Industry and therefore one of Darling's junior ministers, was appointed Minister for Science. Darling took over day-to-day control of the Energy portfolio.

    [edit] Chancellor of the Exchequer

    In June 2007, the new Prime Minister Gordon Brown appointed Darling Chancellor of the Exchequer, a promotion widely anticipated in the media. Journalists observed that three of Darling's four junior ministers at the Treasury (Angela Eagle, Jane Kennedy and Kitty Ussher) are female and dubbed his team, "Darling's Darlings".[6]

    In September 2007, for the first time since 1860, there was a run on a British bank, Northern Rock. Although the Bank of England and the Financial Services Authority have jurisdiction in such cases, ultimate authority for deciding on financial support for a bank in exceptional circumstances rests with the Chancellor. The 2007 subprime mortgage financial crisis had caused a liquidity crisis in the UK banking industry, and Northern Rock was unable to borrow as required by its business model. Darling authorised the Bank of England to lend Northern Rock funds to cover its liabilities and provided an unqualified taxpayers’ guarantee of the deposits of savers in Northern Rock in an attempt to stop the run. Northern Rock borrowed up to £20 billion from the Bank of England,[7] and Darling was criticized for becoming sucked into a position where so much public money was tied up in a private company.[8] On 12 March 2008, Darling gave his first Budget in the House of Commons.

    In March 2008, Alistair Darling was criticised in some circles for the Budget by a media campaign spread by a social networking site. James Hughes, the landlord of Utopia Pub in Edinburgh, symbolically barred Darling from his pub, and a passing reporter from the Edinburgh Evening News ran the story. A Facebook group was created, leading dozens of pubs across the UK to follow Hughes, barring Darling from their pubs.[9] The story was eventually picked up by most national press and broadcast media in the UK, and leader of the opposition cited the movement at Prime Minister's Questions on 26 March.[10]

    [edit] Child benefit data scandal

    Darling was Chancellor when the personal and confidential details of over 25 million British citizens went missing while being sent from his department to the National Audit Office. A former Scotland Yard detective stated that with the current rate of £2.50 per person's details this data could have been sold for £60 million.[11] The acting leader of the Liberal Democrats, Vince Cable, put the value at £1.5bn, or £60 per identity.[12]

    [edit] 10p Tax

    Darling’s predecessor, Gordon Brown, before becoming Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, axed the 10% starting rate of taxation whilst reducing basic rate income tax from 22% to 20%, in his final budget on 21 March 2007. Although the majority of tax payers would be marginally better off by these changes some 5.1 million low earners including those earning less than £18,000 were worse off. On 18 October 2007 the Treasury released figures showing that childless people on low incomes could lose up to £200 a year as a result of the changes, while parents and those earning more than £20,000 will be better off.

    Increasing political backlash to the additional tax burden put immense pressure onto the government including the new chancellor Darling with Gordon Brown facing criticism from his own Parliamentary Labour party. On 13 May 2008 Darling announced he would help low-paid workers hit by the scrapping of the 10p rate, by raising this year's personal tax allowance by £600 funded by borrowing £2.7 billion.[13]

    [edit] Storm warning

    In an interview in The Guardian [14] published 30 August 2008, Alistair Darling warned, "The economic times we are facing... are arguably the worst they've been in 60 years. And I think it's going to be more profound and long-lasting than people thought." His blunt warning led to confusion within the Labour Party. However, Darling insisted that it was his duty to be “straight” with people.[15]

    Personal life

    Darling has been married to former journalist Margaret McQueen Vaughan since 1986, and they have one son (Calum, born 1988) and one daughter (Anna, born 1990). Margaret Vaughan worked for Radio Forth, the [16]Daily Record and [17]Glasgow Herald until Labour's election victory in 1997. In 2008 Darling was given an honorary position in the University College LondonRed Zone. Darling's media adviser, the former Herald political journalist, Catherine MacLeod, is a close friend of Vaughan and Darling, as well as being a long-standing Labour Party supporter. Darling had a previous marriage in the 1970s.[18] student movement known only as

    He enjoys listening to Pink Floyd, Coldplay, Leonard Cohen and recently American rock band The Killers.[19]


    Torrance, David (2006). The Scottish Secretaries. Birlinn Publishers. ISBN 9781841584768.


    1. ^ "Darling, Alistair".
    2. ^ a b p5, Private Eye no. 1218, 5 September - 18 September 2008
    3. ^ Chris Marsden "Britain’s Chancellor Alistair Darling and the International Marxist Group", World Socialist Website, 27 September 2008.
    4. ^ George Galloway "If The Recession Hits, Will Alistair Be Our Darling?", Daily Record, 10 March 2008.
    5. ^ "Solicitors (Scotland) Act 1988 (c. 42)".
    6. ^ "Simon Hoggart's sketch: Darling, you're so dreary". The Guardian.
    7. ^ "US private equity firm eyes Rock".
    8. ^ "Northern Rock & Virgin: who wins?".
    9. ^ "Alistair Darling You're Barred". Facebook.
    10. ^ "Pub landlords set about barring Chancellor from every boozer in Britain". The Sun. See also:
    11. "'Ban Alistair Darling from every British pub'". The Telegraph. and "You're barred, pub campaigners tell chancellor". The Guardian. and "Campaign launched to ban the Chancellor from every pub in the countryLatest Scottish news and headlines from Scotland".
    12. ^ "Fraud Risk To Millions After 'Catastrophic' Records Blunder".
    13. ^ "Discs 'worth £1.5bn' to criminals". BBC. Retrieved on 2008-08-11.
    14. ^ "Gordon Brown pays £2.7 billion to end 10p tax crisis". Times Online.
    15. ^ "Storm warning". The Guardian.
    16. ^ "Labour in turmoil over Alistair Darling gaffe". The Times.
    17. ^
    18. ^
    19. ^
    20. ^ "Alistair Darling: The man who stepped into limelight on the darkest of all Mondays". Times Online.

    External links

    Parliament of the United Kingdom

    Preceded by
    Alex Fletcher
    Member of Parliament for Edinburgh Central
    Constituency abolished
    New constituency Member of Parliament for Edinburgh South West
    2005 – present
    Political offices
    Preceded by
    William Waldegrave
    Chief Secretary to the Treasury
    1997 – 1998
    Succeeded by
    Stephen Byers
    Preceded by
    Harriet Harman
    Secretary of State for Social Security (1998 – 2001)
    State Work and Pensions (2001 – 2002)

    1998 – 2002
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    Andrew Smith
    Preceded by
    Stephen Byers
    State Transport, Local Government and the Regions
    Secretary of State for Transport
    2002 – 2006
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    Preceded by
    Helen Liddell
    Secretary of State for Scotland
    2003 – 2006
    Preceded by
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    Secretary of State for Trade and Industry
    2006 – 2007
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    John Hutton
    State Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform
    Preceded by
    Gordon Brown
    Chancellor of the Exchequer
    2007 – present

    Peter Mandelson, Secretary of State for Business
    Rt. Hon. Lord Mandelson
    Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform
    Email Address:
    Tel: +44 (0) 2072155000


    Holds overall responsibility for the Department for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform and its policies.


    Lord Mandelson was appointed Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform on 3 October 2008.


    Holds overall responsibility for the Department for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform and its policies.


    Lord Mandelson was appointed Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform on 3 October 2008.

    He was born in 1953, and studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics at St Catherine's College, Oxford. As a young man he lived in Tanzania for a year, an experience which formed life-long impressions of Africa and the challenges of fighting poverty. A life-long pro-European, he led the British delegation to the first ever meeting of the European Communities Youth Forum in Strasbourg in 1979.

    After working as an economist at the Trades Union Congress and as a current affairs TV producer, Peter Mandelson was later appointed Labour Party Director for Campaigns and Communications in 1985.

    In 1992 he was elected as member of parliament for the constituency of Hartlepool. He served until his appointment to the European Commission in 2004.

    He was appointed to the Cabinet as Secretary of State for Trade and Industry in 1998, where he was responsible for the introduction of the National Minimum Wage and overseeing new measures to strengthen regional development through the creation of Regional Development Agencies. During his tenure, he also published the Government's Competitiveness White Paper - "Building the Knowledge-Driven Economy".

    In 1999 he was appointed Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. Between 1999 and 2001 he negotiated the creation of Northern Ireland's power sharing government and the IRA's announcement that they planned to put their arms beyond use. He also introduced the radical overhaul of the police service in Northern Ireland.

    He is honorary Chair of Policy Network, a European and international think tank whose journal and conferences promote the exchange and debate of centre-left policy ideas and European social democratic thinking. He was UK chairman of the UK-Japan 21st Century Group, which brings together leading academics, politicians and business people. He has travelled widely and has lectured throughout Europe, in Asia and the United States.

    He was EU Commissioner for Trade from 2004 to 2008.

    Man and woman reflected in exterior window

    Corporate Information

    BERR - the Department for Business - is here to help ensure business success in an increasingly competitive world. Our role is to boost productivity and keep the UK competitive and an attractive place to do business, especially in challenging economic times, as well as to help companies succeed overseas and to bring foreign investment to the UK.

    We focus on raising and sustaining the UK's economic performance, nationally and in the regions, to create the jobs, wealth and ideas which support a healthy economy and social wellbeing.

    We work on this directly, or through those who have an interdependent interest in a successful business environment. These include consumers, employees, investors, small & medium-sized enterprises, large corporates and representative bodies.

    We're also the 'voice for business in Government'. We listen carefully to what these different groups have to say and weigh up the evidence behind their various views.

    We then represent the arguments for business success effectively around the rest of Whitehall and Brussels. We work with other government departments and at Cabinet to influence Government and European policy in a way which puts the UK's economic interests first. The Department works in four principal areas:

    1. We promote the creation and growth of business and an economy which supports enterprise, wealth creation and innovation:
    2. We work hard to achieve regulation which is simple and proportionate to the outcome it's trying to achieve.
    3. We safeguard employee and consumer interests and work for a single European market, supporting trade and encouraging overseas investment
    4. We make sure the Government acts as an 'intelligent shareholder' – looking after the public's interest in companies where the Government has a stake.

    History of BERR and DTI

    Follow the Outlines link for a history of the Department broken down as follows:

    • The Board of Trade 1621-1970

    • The Department of Trade and Industry 1970-1974

    • The Department of Energy 1974 - 1992

    • The Department of Industry 1974 - 1983

    • The Department of Prices and Consumer Protection 1974 - 1979

    • The Department of Trade 1974-1983

    • The Department of Trade and Industry 1983-2007

    • The Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform 2007-

    See also, the links to:

    • Ministers (1970 to date)

    • List of Presidents/Secretaries of State (1786 to date)

    Public Appointments

    The Department for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform is responsible for some 70 Non-Departmental Public Bodies (NDPBs).

    We are committed to appointments to public bodies being made on merit.

    Public appointments are made by Ministers to the boards of the Non-Departmental Public Bodies.

    Appointments include the positions of Chair, Deputy Chair and Board members.

    Ministerial appointments to NDPBs and public corporations are made in accordance with the Code of Practice of the Commissioner for Public Appointments more commonly known as the OCPA Code.

    The role of the Commissioner is to regulate, monitor, report and advise on the way in which Ministers make appointments to the Boards of public bodies.

    For more information see the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments (OCPA) website

    What are NDPBs?

    There are three types of Non-Departmental Public Bodies.

    • Executive bodies: which between them carry out a wide range of operational and regulatory functions, various scientific and cultural activities and some commercial or semi-commercial activities.
    • Advisory bodies: which are usually composed of a group of experts in a particular sphere advising the government on one narrow issue.
    • Tribunals: which, as their names suggest, have a judicial or quasi-judicial function.

    Some appointments that do not come within the remit of the Commissioner for Public Appointments, are made using a process which takes into account the Commissioner's Code of Practice as best practice and they are included in the list.

    Ministerial Portfolios at a Glance

    Rt. Hon. Lord Mandelson, Secretary of State, Department for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform

    • Holds overall responsibility for the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform and its policies.

    Pat McFadden MP, Minister for Employment Relations and Postal Affairs

    • Employment Relations
    • ACAS
    • Postal policy: Post Office and Royal Mail
    • Insolvency Service (including companies investigations)
    • Skills
    • Strengthening regional economies (including SfIE)
    • Olympic legacy
    • Transformational government


    Gareth Thomas MP, Minister for Trade, Development and Consumer Affairs (jointly with DfID)

    • Trade policy (a shared BERR/DfID responsibility)
    • EU competitiveness and the Single Market
    • Services Directive
    • Consumer affairs
    • Competition issues

    Shiriti Vadera, Minister for Economic Competitiveness and Small Business (jointly with Cabinet Office)

    • Competitiveness, enterprise, growth & business investment
    • Small business
    • Business Council for Britain
    • General oversight of Shareholder Executive and its portfolios

    Stephen Carter CBE, Minister for Communications, Technology and Broadcasting

    • communications and content industries
    • electronics and IT services
    • creative industries
    • Better Regulation Executive, including regulatory budgets
    • Better regulation within BERR

    Ian Pearson MP, Economic and Business Minister (jointly with HM Treasury)

    • Business sectors: aerospace, marine and defence; automotive; bioscience and pharmaceuticals; chemicals; construction; environmental industries; manufacturing, materials and engineering; retail and services
    • Sustainable development and regulation, including waste electrical and electronic equipment issues
    • Business support simplification
    • Corporate Social Responsibility
    • Corporate governance, Companies Act implementation and Companies House
    • Export control
    • Export Credits Guarantee Department

    Mervyn Thomas CBE, Minister for Trade and Investment(jointly with Foreign Office)

    • UK Trade & Investment (reporting jointly to the Business Secretary and the Foreign Secretary)
    Wednesday 14 January 2009 11:05
    Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform  (North East)

    Real help for business

    Business Secretary Lord Mandelson today unveiled a package of measures designed to address the cash flow, credit and investment needs of small and medium businesses.

    The support package, which builds upon the commitments outlined in November's Pre Budget Report, consists of loan guarantees and a new Enterprise Fund aimed at helping companies struggling to access finance for working capital and investment.

    The Government measures include:

    * A £10bn Working Capital Scheme, securing up to £20bn of short term bank lending to companies with a turnover of up to £500m

    * An Enterprise Finance Guarantee Scheme, securing up to £1.3bn of additional bank loans to small firms with a turnover of up to £25m

    * A £75m Capital for Enterprise Fund (£50m from Government augmented by £25m from the banks) to invest in small businesses which need equity

    Business Secretary Lord Mandelson said:

    "UK companies are the lifeblood of the economy and it is crucial that Government acts now to provide real help to support them through the downturn and see them emerge stronger on the other side.

    "We know that some companies are struggling to secure the finance they need, not because of any failure in their business but due to the tougher credit conditions. That is why we have designed a package of measures addressing different forms of credit and providing real help for businesses."

    The Working Capital Scheme is a direct response to the constraint on bank credit available for lending to ordinary-risk businesses with a turnover of up to £500m a year.

    The Government will provide banks with guarantees covering 50 per cent of the risk on existing and new working capital portfolios worth up to £20bn.

    The guarantee will secure up to £20bn of working capital credit lines for companies - ensuring they are safe from reduction or withdrawal.

    In addition, the guarantee will free up capital which the banks must use for new lending as a condition of this scheme. This is lending that would otherwise not have been provided.

    The Enterprise Finance Guarantee aims to help smaller, credit-worthy companies which might otherwise fail to access the finance they need for working capital or investment finance due to the current tight lending conditions.

    The Government will provide £1bn of guarantees to support to £1.3bn of bank lending to smaller firms with an annual turnover of up to £25m, which are looking for loans of up to £1m for a period of up to 10 years.

    The guarantee, available through high street banks, will apply to loans and can also be used to convert existing overdrafts into loans to enable businesses to free up their current overdraft facilities to meet working capital demands.

    To help businesses raise new long-term finance, the Government will also offer to invest in viable companies which have high levels of existing debt through a new £75m Capital for Enterprise Fund. Banks are contributing to this fund.

    The fund, to be managed externally, will provide long term capital to businesses which have exhausted traditional forms of finance. Companies can then use this capital to invest in and grow their business.

    Lord Mandelson also confirmed today the Government is discussing with trade credit insurance providers a Government scheme to help companies affected by reductions in their credit insurance.

    In order to help businesses identify their financial needs, the Government is today launching a new "one stop shop" easy-to-use web portal. The portal, on the website, will direct companies to the most appropriate form of support and help them ascertain their eligibility for a range of government support.

    Notes to Editors:

    Enterprise Finance Guarantee (EFG)

    * EFG builds on the £1bn Small Business Finance Scheme outlined in November's Pre Budget Report.

    * Government guarantees 75% of the loan, with banks covering the remaining 25%.

    * The guarantee will be available through Barclays, Clydesdale/Yorkshire Bank, HBOS, HSBC, Lloyds TSB, RBS/Natwest and Northern Bank. It will become available from other lenders if they wish to apply.

    Working Capital Scheme (WCS)

    * In the PBR, the Chancellor announced a guarantee scheme to support a £1bn facility for smaller exporters to access short term working capital. We have expanded this to cover a wider group of businesses and lending, including exporters.

    * Under the Working Capital Scheme, banks will submit a portfolio of loans to businesses (lending to businesses with turnover up to £500m) to BERR. BERR will guarantee up to 50 per cent of the value of the portfolio, securing up to £20bn of bank lending.

    * Banks are invited to submit their portfolio of existing and projected new or refinance loans for approval under the guarantee. We have received declarations of interest by Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds TSB and RBS. With the support of participating banks, we hope the first £1billion guarantee tranche of the scheme should be operational by 1st March.

    * By guaranteeing portfolios of working capital facilities, this package will release capital held by the banks against these portfolios. The banks have agreed they will make commitments to re-deploy this capital in order to increase all types of lending above their current plans, to businesses with a turnover of less than £500m.

    * Banks will pay a premium to BERR for this facility; pricing is to be agreed with the banks at the time a portfolio of loans is offered. Pricing will reflect the risk characteristics of the portfolio, to cover potential default payments.

    * The Working Capital Scheme is subject to EU State Aid Clearance.

    Capital for Enterprise Fund

    * In the PBR, the Chancellor announced a £50m fund to convert businesses' debt into equity. Government is today announcing that this Capital for Enterprise Fund will provide £75m of equity, made up of £50m from Government funds and £25m from high street banks (Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds TSB, and RBS).

    The online portal can be found at:

    Client ref 2009/11

    COI ref 169531P

    Thursday 15 January 2009 11:41
    Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform  (National)

    Dragon to breath fire for Ethnic Minority Task Force

    Entrepreneur and star of BBC's Dragon's Den, James Caan was today appointed the new Co-Chair of the Department of Business's Ethnic Minority Task Force.

    The appointment was announced by Lord Mandelson following the sixth meeting of the Task force.

    James Caan's responsibilities will include providing a strategic direction to the Task Force and opening up discussions with Banks and financial institutions on ways in which the Government can better support BME business owners. Speaking on the appointment, Lord Mandelson Secretary of State for Business Said:

    "It is more important than ever that we create an environment where anyone with ambition, passion and a good idea - no matter what their background - can succeed.

    "I am delighted that James Caan is joining the Ethnic Minority Business Task Force. His entrepreneurial expertise and business acumen will further build of the Task force's work in removing barriers for BME business owners".

    James Caan said:

    "I am pleased to be working with the Ethnic Minority Business Task Force which is a very important initiative.

    "The Entrepreneurial sector of the Economy has always been where my passion lies and to which the Ethnic Minority group makes a very valuable contribution. I am looking forward to using the same skills that I apply across all my business ventures to deliver tangible results."

    The Task Force aims to foster growth among black and minority ethnic (BME) firms and boost economic participation by BME entrepreneurs.

    James Caan will take up the position for 12 months from Adeeba Malik who stepped down in October due to work commitments in Pakistan.

    Notes to Editors

    1. The Task Force is jointly funded by the Department for Business and England's Regional Development Agencies (RDAs). Yorkshire Forward is the lead RDA and work closely with the London Development Agency, who lead on equalities, and the EMDA who lead on enterprise.

    2. The Ethnic Minority Business Task Force was established with two co-chairs to ensure RDA engagement as well as the interests of the business community.

    3. The task force held its first meeting in November 2007. At that meeting the members agreed the priority areas for action: Business support; Procurement; and Access to Finance.

    4. He will also lead an investigation into why ethnic minority businesses face additional barriers in the current climate. This document and the recommendations will be made available in July.

    5. Tom Riordan, Chief Executive at Yorkshire Forward, was appointed as Co-Chair when the task force was created in 2007 and will remain as Co-Chair with James Caan.

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