Gordon Brown attacked over Commons non-attendance


Former PM Gordon Brown has been attacked over his failure to regularly attend the House of Commons following Labour’s defeat in the UK general election.

The former Labour leader has been criticised after it emerged that he has spoken only once in the House since May’s general election, has tabled no questions and made only five of the 131 votes.

Critics have suggested that Mr Brown’s non appearance was due to his writing a book and taking lucrative payments to make speeches.

During Commons question time, Tony Hands MP for Chelsea and Fulham asked: “Would you agree to have a word with the Member for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath, assuming he can be found, and perhaps suggest some orientation might be needed?”

Deputy Commons Leader David Heath replied: “I’m sure it would be invidious to discuss the attendance record of any individual right honourable Member.

“It does worry me, I have to say, if some Members do have problems reconciling the competing pressures of writing books and making well-paid speeches with their duties in this House.

“However, I do hope that in the context of the present economic situation, those with particular experience of, say, ending boom and bust will feel able to contribute to our debates.”

Gordon Brown’s first speech since the election came in November when he made a statement in support of the aircraft carrier contracts being maintained at a Scottish shipyard rather than in France.

It recently emerged that Scottish Labour are planning to give Gordon Brown a prominent role in the forthcoming Holyrood election campaign.  Many observers believe that this is an attempt at combating the poor public profile of Labour’s Holyrood leader Iain Gray.

The former PM was seen by many as the main reason for Labour losing the UK Election due to his disastrous handling of the UK economy, an economy that was very close to bankruptcy.

Mr Brown became Chancellor of the Exchequer when new Labour came into power in 1997. He then moved on to become Prime Minister in 2008 after Tony Blair stepped aside.  He was heavily criticised for his role in supporting the war in Iraq and for taking the UK into the worst recession since the second war.