How leaders measure up – on paper, at least

Analysis of the handwriting of the leaders of the main political parties has found that Gordon Brown "won't be told what to do", David Cameron is "skilled at talking his way in and out of things" and Nick Clegg can "get what he wants without aggression".

Graphologist Elaine Quigley analysed samples of the three men's writing, without being told they were politicians'.

She said the Prime Minister's writing – which recently sparked headlines after he was accused of scrawling a message of condolence to the mother of a soldier – showed that those who work with him "need to impress with their efficiency".

Mr Brown "doesn't trust people who are careless about details" found the graphologist, while the Conservative leader is "independent, intelligent, with integrity" and the Liberal Democrat boss is "larger than life".

The handwriting analysis was carried out for Cosmopolitan magazine's pre-election "High Heel Vote" edition, in which the leaders spoke to a group of readers about their plans and answered a questionnaire detailing their likes and dislikes.

Mr Brown revealed he listens to The Beatles and U2, would like to be a charity worker or teacher if he was not a politician and is most relaxed in his home town with his family. Mr Cameron has a taste for books by left-winger Tony Benn, enjoys watching Spooks and fancies being a farmer. Mr Clegg is happiest walking in the mountains, listens to country music icon Johnny Cash and watches Come Dine With Me.

While both Mr Brown and Mr Cameron named their wives as their idols, the Lib Dem leader said his was the cerebral writer Samuel Beckett.

Asked what their wives would name as their worst habits, Mr Brown said "being untidy", Mr Cameron "making an appalling mess in the kitchen" and Mr Clegg "smoking the occasional cigarette".

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