Brown makes first Commons speech since resignation

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Indy Politics

Gordon Brown last night made his first Commons speech since leaving Downing Street.

The former prime minister was greeted with loud cheers from Labour backbenchers and jeers from the coalition as he stood to insist that maintenance on Britain's two new aircraft carriers should be carried out at a Scottish shipyard near his constituency, rather than in France.

Acknowledging the "above average attendance" in the House, Mr Brown told MPs that Rosyth, which borders his Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath seat, is the "only base that can assemble the aircraft carriers that have been commissioned by this country".

He said: "I think it is important to recognise that when announcements are to be made by the Ministry of Defence that Rosyth is the base that is able to refit these carriers in the years to come."

Mr Brown said the aircraft carriers were crucial to Britain and this debate had been "clouded" over the last few weeks by "many things that have been said".

He told MPs: "These are military decisions made on military advice for military reasons.

"And the reason that these decisions have been made is this - that if we are to retain a global presence as a Navy, as armed forces and as a country, then we will need these aircraft carriers in the years to come."