Gordon Brown delivers veiled swipe at Tony Blair

Gordon Brown issued a thinly veiled swipe at Tony Blair today as he hit out at politicians who fail to keep promises to step down from office after two terms.

The former prime minister grinned as he delivered the verdict during his first substantial Parliamentary appearance since quitting as Labour leader in May.



Mr Brown's fury at his predecessor's decision not to step down for him ahead of the 2005 general election has been documented in a number of high-profile Labour memoirs.



And today he appeared to seize an unexpected chance to make clear his own view during a two-hour evidence session to the international development select committee.



It came as Tory MP Pauline Latham challenged him over what action he had taken over African leaders who served more than the two terms they promised.



"People make it clear, as I have, to some of these leaders that if they say something and then are not in a position to deliver it then their authority is affected by that," he said.



"But I think it is very difficult for us to impose a rule on African countries that we do not apply ourselves," a smiling Mr Brown told the committee.



He did not refer directly to Mr Blair - citing instead the example of Michael Bloomberg who had proved an excellent mayor of New York despite serving beyond his self-imposed two-term limit.



But few observers were in any doubt to whom his comments were directed as he continued: "It is difficult for us to say, when sometimes in our countries people serve long terms, that there should be a limit on the terms. The real issue is keeping promises."



Mr Brown also hit back at criticism of his failure - apart from one short intervention in a late-night defence debate - to speak in the Commons chamber since losing power at the general election.



The ex-premier asked to give evidence to the committee - the same forum at which Mr Blair also first appeared after leaving Number 10 - rather than being invited.



Tory committee member Chris White questioned why he had delayed for so long and not chosen to speak out about international development in the House.



The former Labour leader hit out at the "unfortunate" diversion from the subject and insisted that "most former prime ministers have rarely spoken in the House at all".



He said he had decided to concentrate on his work as a constituency MP and international engagements but also took "a very big interest" in major political issues.



"I am here because I think I have a perspective on this that is of use to this committee. And I think it would be unfortunate if you were to suggest that there was only one way of making your views known in this House."















Mr Brown also expressed serious doubts about the coalition Government's prospect of meeting the United Nations goal of devoting 0.7% of GDP to overseas aid.

Spending plans show that figure being reached by the target date of 2013 but Mr Brown accused ministers of relying on a "one off" payment to the World Bank to get there.



He engaged in a hostile spat over the promise with Mrs Latham - which eventually required the intervention of committee chairman Malcolm Bruce.



It began when Mr Brown told the MPs: "As I understand it, the way to get to that target is a one-off payment to the World Bank and I don't think that will actually work.



"The most likely outcome, as I see it at the moment, is that we will not meet that target and there is an obligation on this committee ... to make sure this target is reached."



Mrs Latham reacted angrily to the former chancellor - insisting the Government was committed to reaching the target despite a difficult economic situation "which you are only too well aware of".



She pointed to rising payments to the World Bank under Labour and told Mr Brown he had no evidence to deny that sustained investment from the UK would continue beyond 2013.



"Let's see. I hope that's the case," he said - pointing out that less money was required to meet the target than if the UK economy was growing rapidly.



"It would have been nice if we had been left with that situation," she retorted.



In a two-hour plus session, Mr Brown also backed the idea of a global banking levy to help boost funding for Africa and avoid a "lost decade" in which the continent's potential was wasted.



He said private sector short-termism was to blame for a lack of investment in Africa and called on firms to show more imagination.



The former premier said he would soon publish a book, with other authors, on how the UN's Millennium Development Goals could still be met.

News
news

Emergency call 'started off dumb, but got pretty serious'

News
people

Britain First criticised for using actress's memory to draw attention to their 'hate-filled home page'

Arts and Entertainment
JK Rowling is releasing a new Harry Potter story about Dolores Umbridge
booksJK Rowling to publish new story set in wizard's world for Halloween
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has refused to deny his involvement in the upcoming new Star Wars film
filmBenedict Cumberbatch reignites those Star Wars rumours
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
Russell Brand was in typically combative form during his promotional interview with Newsnight's Evan Davis
people

Thought you'd seen it all after the Jeremy Paxman interview?

Arts and Entertainment
On The Apprentice, “serious” left the room many moons ago and yet still we watch
tv

Greatest mystery about the hit BBC1 show is how it continues to be made at all, writes Grace Dent

News
i100
Life and Style
tech

Voices
Funds raised from the sale of poppies help the members of the armed forces with financial difficulties
voicesLindsey German: The best way of protecting soldiers is to stop sending them into conflicts
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from David Ayer's 'Fury'
film

"History is violent," says the US Army tank commander Don "Wardaddy" Collier

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Learning Support Assistant

£50 - £60 per day + plus free travel scheme: Randstad Education Cardiff: The J...

Data Analyst/Planning and Performance – Surrey – Up to £35k

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum plus excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions...

Cover Supervisor

£120 - £162 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Randstad Education have cover su...

Teaching Assistant

£50 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Teaching Assistants/LSAAre you a T...

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker