Brown’s No. 10 Renovation Memory Loss

Gordon Brown appears to be getting to that post-Prime Ministerial age when details about his time in office begin to slip. Maybe one day he’ll truly believe he saved the world, however this weekend the main memory issue seem to surround Downing Street renovations. In an interview with The Telegraph over the weekend he was asked about flat-gate:

“Listen, Sarah and I never spent anything on No 10, because we were very aware that we were in a financial crisis and that any sign we were spending money would be seen as not sharing the problems that the country faced.”

In the midst of wallpaper-gate last year, however, the government published exact cost figures of Downing Street flat renovations, going all the way back to 1997-98. It turns out that Brown’s phrase, “never spent anything”, actually amounted to a whopping £103,284 spent by him and Sarah between 2007 and 2010. Additionally awkward for Brown is the revelation that the only years a PM actually spent no public cash renovating their flat were under his Tory successors, in 2012-13, 14-15 and 17-18. Still, what’s £100,000 to a man whose time at the top of government cost the economy £3 trillion…

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Brown Tells Starmer to Ignore the Haters
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Brown Predicts Government Will Cancel Tax Rises
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Six Times Labour Lawmakers Were Law Breakers

Labour is making hay while the sun is shining over Boris and Rishi’s fixed penalty notice charges, as you would expect. Generally it is a good rule that lawmakers can’t be law breakers, though it is the case that ministers receiving fixed penalty notices is hardly anything new. Guido thought he’d wander down memory lane to help contextualise Labour’s performative outrage…

Starting off most recently, Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford called for the PM to resign as “You can’t be a law-maker and a law-breaker.” This seems to be a new position from Drakeford given his own health minister Eluned Morgan received a speeding fine of £800 just last month as well as a six month driving ban. She remains in situ…

Then we get into the weeds of Blair and Brown’s ministers. Most prominently among whom must be Harriet Harman. While serving as a minister and deputy leader of the Labour Party, Harman was charged with not one, not two, but three speeding offences; in 2003, 2007 and 2010, wracking up a whopping £810-worth of fines and nine penalty points on her licence. Harman has accused Boris of not only breaking laws he made, he broke laws in place to keep people safe. Much like speed limits… 

Fixed Penalty Notice queen Harriet Harman then piroutted and defended Baroness Scotland, serving as Gordon Brown’s Attorney General at the time, when she received a £5,000 civil penalty notice for hiring an illegal worker. While this would have been bad enough, Scotland was a Home Office minister who helped introduce the very legislation under which she received the fine. Scotland said the penalty was caused by a technical error and compared it to a parking ticket, saying “it’s not a criminal offence”. Brown said “no further action was necessary”…

Lastly there’s Liam Byrne, who said yesterday “We cant have a rules based order with leaders who break the rules.” In 2007, Byrne was fined £100 after admitting to using his mobile while driving, as well as receiving three points on his licence. The fine was ironic as, at the time, Byrne had been a long-standing road safety campaigner, tabling a petition in 2005 from constituents calling for tougher penalties for dangerous drivers.

He once told a parliamentary committee that the most dangerous drivers were “serial potential killers” and said he was “shocked” at the leniency of sentences handed down to them.

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Gordon Brown’s Sound Advice for Keir

Gordon Brown tells Times Radio…

“Now my advice is not to take my advice. I think it’s better that he makes his own decisions and does what he feels is right for the Labour party.”

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Brown: The Response to an Attack on Democracy Cannot be Less Democracy
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