Analysis: 'When I say renewal, I mean starting with Blair'

Colin Brown analyses remarks on the leadership made by the Chancellor in a TV interview
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BROWN SAID: "A government after nine years has got two challenges, one is to renew in government ... the second thing is that the world is changing fast and we have got to respond. We will renew our party by new organisation and building up the membership again ... Our policies are about economic stability, but also security..."

HE MEANT: Blair has outstayed his welcome. He appointed Hazel Blears as the new party chairman and told her to take charge of 'renewal' without consulting me. When I say renewal, I mean starting with Blair.

BROWN SAID: "We've had a wake up call in these local elections, we've ... got to win a new Labour coalition yet again. We've got to build support where we have lost votes; we have got to understand that we have lost voters we want to have. These are natural parts of our new Labour coalition and if we put the right challenges to people and prepare ourselves properly for the future, I think there is a whole set of issues around security ..."

HE MEANT: Tony needs to wake up. He's leaving me with voters deserting in droves to the Tories.

BROWN SAID: "I mean we are in quite a unique position. We've got a leader of our party and a prime minister who says he will not fight the next election, who everybody recognises has done a very, very good job, but doesn't want to fight the next election. He has also said that he wants a stable and orderly transition and that he wants the chance to be able to organise that. I think ... the majority of people in the parliamentary party want ... an orderly transition..."

HE MEANT: We don't want Tony going off in tearslike Thatcher, but ... he can't stay for ever.

BROWN SAID: "Tony Blair said himself a year ago that he wishes to play his part in organising that stable and orderly transition. That's not a matter for me because we don't know who's going to be leader of the Labour Party, it's a matter for Tony and the party themselves,but at the end of the day I get on with my job... It's very important we don't lose sight of what the real issue of these local elections has been, that it is not only a wake-up call, it's a warning shot that we've got to address ..."

HE MEANT: Tony ought to listen to what the party is saying for once.

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