Tributes to Gordon Brown from friends and foes

Gordon Brown speaks at a Miners Welfare Club in Edinburgh in the run up to the Scottish Independence Referendum. Picture: TSPL
Gordon Brown speaks at a Miners Welfare Club in Edinburgh in the run up to the Scottish Independence Referendum. Picture: TSPL
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GORDON BROWN is a “towering figure” in British politics who has had an “outstanding parliamentary career”, serving as both chancellor and prime minister, Labour leader Ed Miliband has said.

Mr Miliband led cross-party tributes to Mr Brown as he announced his intention to stand down as an MP at the general election in May.

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On behalf of the Labour Party I want to thank Gordon Brown for his outstanding 32-year parliamentary career,” Mr Miliband said.

“He is a towering figure in British politics because, for a generation, he helped make the political weather and change our country.

“He played an enormous role in getting Labour elected in 1997 and sustaining the party in government.

“Gordon has a proud record on global justice including the negotiation of debt cancellation for the world’s poorest nations.

“I know he will continue to campaign for justice around the world.’’

Prime Minister David Cameron said: “Gordon has given a huge amount in terms of public service and his contribution in government and in Parliament.

“I’m sure he will go on contributing to public life after he leaves the Commons.”

Former Liberal Democrat leader Sir Menzies Campbell said: “Like all politicians Gordon Brown will be remembered for a variety of reasons but no one should ever forget that when the world economy stood on the abyss it was his determined action which persuaded many countries to take the cumulative steps which ensured that there was not a global depression.”

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “I wish Gordon Brown well. There is no doubt that he has made an enormous contribution over many years to Scottish, UK and international politics.

“While we have clearly had our political differences - most recently in the independence referendum - he has my very best wishes as he announces his retirement from politics and for whatever he decides to do in future.”

Tributes also came from Scottish Labour leadership candidates Neil Findlay and Jim Murphy, and from shadow Scottish secretary Margaret Curran.

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Ms Curran said: “In his 32 years of public service, Gordon Brown has served Scotland, the UK and the global community as an MP, prime minister and a campaigner for global justice. He is a son of Scotland, a giant of UK politics and a towering figure in the Labour movement.

“He has always been, first and foremost, a champion for his constituents in Fife. From his early days as an MP through to this last year, he has put their needs first.”

Mr Findlay praised Mr Brown’s “lifelong commitment to tackling poverty”, while Mr Murphy described Mr Brown as “a giant of the Labour Party”.

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson MSP said: “Gordon Brown’s decision to stand down is the right one, and, following the success of the Better Together campaign, he leaves Westminster with his head held high.”

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie MSP said: “Gordon Brown’s clunking fist shaped Britain. From New Labour, to the recession to the referendum Gordon’s presence dominated. A great mind, a forceful personality and a great statesman. He has much more to give and I wish him well in doing so.”

Lord Mandelson, one of the architects of New Labour along with Mr Brown and Tony Blair, said the Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath MP would be remembered for saving the banks and the Union.

He said Mr Brown “didn’t get everything right” but he “did get the big things right”.

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Unite’s general secretary Len McCluskey said: “Gordon Brown exits the domestic political stage with his head held high. Decency, fairness, a man determined to take on the inequalities that blight lives - these are qualities we can forever associate with Gordon.”

Scottish Labour leadership candidate and MP Jim Murphy described Mr Brown as “a giant of the Labour Party”.

“Throughout his more than 30 years in pubic life Gordon Brown has worked to improve the lives of people not just here in Scotland, but across the UK and the wider world. His record in government is of lifting millions of people out of poverty and directing the world’s response to the global financial crisis. Our country is a better and fairer place for his leadership,” he said.

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “I wish Gordon Brown well. There is no doubt that he has made an enormous contribution over many years to Scottish, UK and international politics.

“While we have clearly had our political differences - most recently in the independence referendum - he has my very best wishes as he announces his retirement from politics and for whatever he decides to do in future.”

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie MSP said: “Gordon Brown’s clunking fist shaped Britain. From New Labour, to the recession to the referendum Gordon’s presence dominated. A great mind, a forceful personality and a great statesman. He has much more to give and I wish him well in doing so.”

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