Tory MPs sign up to PM's 'new politics'

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Indy Politics

Gordon Brown played down the prospect of a snap general election as he lured two more Tories and a Liberal Democrat into his "big tent" and outlined his plans to create a "new politics."

The Prime Minister stopped short of ruling out an election this autumn – a course favoured by some of his advisers. But with Labour's lead in the opinion polls narrowing, he gave a strong hint he would not seek his own mandate before next May.

"There will be a time and a place for a general election but it is not now," he said. "I'm getting on with the business of government. What's on my mind is making this country successful for the future." In a speech kicking off the new political season, Mr Brown announced that Patrick Mercer, a Tory MP sacked from David Cameron's frontbench team for making allegedly racist remarks in March, would advise the Home Office on the security of Britain's infrastructure and crowded places.

The Prime Minister's spokesman declined to comment on the views of former soldier Mr Mercer but said he was a "recognised expert" on security matters.

John Bercow, an independent-minded Tory MP, will lead a government review of children and young people with speech, language and communication needs. There has been speculation that he may defect to Labour but for now he is sticking with the Tories.

Matthew Taylor, a Liberal Democrat MP, will advise the Government on making rural communities sustainable. Mr Brown told the National Council of Voluntary Organisations he wanted to break through "the old sterile party divide" so advice could be given by the best people irrespective of their party label.

He warned that "politics as usual" would not be enough, admitting political parties had not done enough to reach out to people.

"I believe that Britain needs a new type of politics which embraces everyone in the nation, not just a select few," he said. "A politics built on consensus, not division. A politics built on engaging with people, not excluding them. It is the politics of the common ground and draws upon the common sense of the people."

He announced a programme to give the public a say in government policy through citizen's juries of between 12-20 "ordinary" people who will assess facts and figures on issues and take evidence from experts. Their "verdict" will be passed to Whitehall but the final decision will still rest with the Government.

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