TV debates clouded election campaign, says Brown

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Indy Politics

Gordon Brown said today that the "novelty" of televised leaders' debates had "clouded" the General Election campaign.

As the push for votes nears its closing stage, the Prime Minister insisted he would have preferred to concentrate on "bigger policy issues" like the economy.

But he told BBC Radio 5 Live: "The novelty of television debates clouded the need for policy to be debated.

"We're making big choices about the NHS, schools and about jobs, industry and the economy.

"I feel we have not yet discussed sufficiently the risks to the economy in the future and the need for jobs to be secure."

Mr Brown acknowledged Labour's campaign had also been hit by the row over his calling lifelong Labour supporter Gillian Duffy a "bigoted woman".

But he said: "The real Gordon Brown is someone who makes mistakes and owns up to it quickly.

"I recognised I had made a mistake. It was loose words that I used and something that I don't do.

"I've apologised to Mrs Duffy. I think I've done what's right by apologising and I hope people understand that."

With the polls due to open in less than 24 hours, Mr Brown denied he had a tendency to blame others, insisting: "I have said I take responsibility."

Challenged about the financial problems facing Greece and Spain, Mr Brown said he was "really worried" about the situation in Europe.

"We need a degree of international co-operation to get growth back in the EU. We may be growing as an economy now, but if Germany's not growing exports to Germany are affected.

"I would like to talk to the European leaders about a growth strategy for Europe. I would like to make sure we could guarantee that European trade will flow freely without protectionism.

"I want to see action now to deal with what is an emerging crisis."

The Tory policy "to take money out of the economy would be disastrous" at the moment, he warned.

"The key year is 2010. If we don't secure the recovery in 2010, you'll have high unemployment in 2011 and a higher deficit to have to deal with.

"If we get, however, growth in 2010, the deficit will fall and the National Insurance (rise), which is to pay for the health service and education, will happen as employment is rising.

"I want to see other countries in Europe joining us in a growth strategy. I would make it my business if re-elected to do that immediately."



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