Gordon Brown jokes with students in first public appearance

By Lucy Collins,Press Association
Sunday 23 October 2011 04:20

Gordon Brown joked today that he had considered taking courses in communication skills and public relations after stepping down as prime minister.

Mr Brown was speaking at a college in his constituency as he made his first public appearance since resigning two days ago.

His comments were greeted with applause and laughter by around 200 students and staff who had gathered at Adam Smith College in Kirkcaldy.

Accompanied on the visit by his wife, Sarah, he said: "I was actually thinking of coming in today and applying for the course on communication skills, then I thought I might do public relations, then maybe media management, drama and performance.

"But I'm actually here to talk about how this college can expand in the future and to thank all of you for the support that you've given me and Sarah, not just over the last month but over the last many, many years. I'm very, very grateful."

Mr Brown continued: "I also lost a few titles in the last two or three days, so it's good to be able to continue with the title you gave me a few years ago, as Chancellor of the college."

He spoke in the hall where the count for his constituency of Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath took place after the General Election a week ago.

Mr Brown was returned with an increased majority and confirmed today that he would continue to sit as a backbench MP.

He said: "I wanted to be clear - I want to be doing what is my first love in politics and that is to serve the people of Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath and all the communities in this area, and to continue to do that with your support over the next few years."

He revealed during his five-minute speech that he had done his "first major interview" with the Fife Free Press and was now holding surgeries as an MP.

Mr Brown told students that communities were made up of more than buildings but "thousands of acts of kindness and service and compassion to each other".

The former PM said he wanted to help and encourage young people to get involved in community projects and to keep youngsters off the streets.

He highlighted the example of a midnight football game, organised with the help of his favourite team, Raith Rovers.

Mr Brown joked: "They have not asked me to sign up for next season, unfortunately."

He added: "In case anybody was in any doubt because of the announcements that were made this week, I am wanting to do everything I can to work for people here, for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath as your Member of Parliament, and I will do that to the best of my ability for these next few months and years.

"I may have given up one job but the job that I love in politics is to be your Member of Parliament and I hope we'll be able to work together."

Students crowded round Mr Brown as he left the hall.

One teenage boy he shook hands with said: "I'm not going to wash this hand for years."

Mr Brown also posed for a photo with a student outside the college, while a worker at Kirkcaldy Museum said: "I feel sorry for him. He never really got given a chance to clean up Blair's mess."

Mr Brown told the Fife Free Press that he was "humbled" by the support of local people.

He left Downing Street with Sarah and their sons, John and Fraser, on Tuesday evening and they returned to their Fife home.

He said: "We wanted to leave Downing Street as a family. That was very important."

Speaking about the future, he added: "I'm going to be working hard in my job as MP for the people of Kirkcaldy and spending more time on local issues.

"I was humbled by the support (from voters) last Thursday and the majority they gave me. I thank them for that support.

"People were so good to me last week and to have that support was fantastic."

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