From Glastonbury to gay icon: Sarah tweets her way to stardom

Mrs Brown shows the PM a thing or two about PR (with a little help from her celebrity friends)

Like the barometer depicting the farmer and his wife, whose appearances alternate according to whether it is stormy or sunny, the fortunes of Gordon and Sarah Brown seem to be polar opposites.

While the rain clouds hang over the Prime Minister, the sun is shining on Mrs Brown, who is enjoying a new level of celebrity through her Twitter profile and friendships with Naomi Campbell and Paris Hilton.

Yesterday she became the first prime ministerial consort to take part in the Gay Pride march in London, sealing a transformation from a slightly frumpy mid-forties political wife to something approaching a gay icon.

Perhaps it was being forced to stand for photo calls next to Michelle Obama's toned upper arms and Carla Bruni's endless legs. More likely, she is using her PR background to try to save her husband's career by throwing herself into wearing wellies in Glastonbury and tweeting about growing strawberries and attending school sports day.

Mrs Brown's first appearance at Labour Party conference as Prime Minister's wife, in 2007, was marked by a rather uncomfortable and silent tour of the exhibition hall in front of the cameras. But a year later the turning point came: her surprise appearance onstage to introduce "my husband, the Prime Minister" with the line: "Sometimes in a world where there is so much to do we don't have enough time to celebrate what has been done." The audience was won over – perhaps not to Mr Brown, but certainly to his wife.

As part of her work for the White Ribbon Alliance, a charity that campaigns for safer childbirth, in May she attended a gala dinner in Los Angeles with Hilton and Campbell.

Last week, wearing a denim dress, hippie beads and wellies, she was reunited under umbrellas with Campbell on the fields of Glastonbury. But is her PR strategy to boost her husband working, or is her higher profile only emphasising Mr Brown's lack of popularity?

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