Gordon Brown: I'm an ex-politician

Gordon Brown at a Labour event in Glasgow in September Gordon Brown has represented the Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath area since 1983

Related Stories

Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown has described himself as an ex-politician, despite still being an MP.

Mr Brown was asked his view "as a politician" during a panel discussion as part of the World Innovation Summit on Education in Qatar.

He interjected "ex-politician", before the panel chair, BBC journalist Mishal Husain, said: "You're still an MP," which he acknowledged.

Mr Brown has represented the Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath area since 1983.

Mr Brown could not be reached for comment on the incident.

He was criticised by Conservative backbencher Henry Smith, who said his "foreign jaunt" showed he "can't even be bothered to turn up for work".

'Interesting description'

The theme was taken up by SNP MP Pete Wishart in the Commons, who asked during the weekly business statement: "Do you know how you can be an MP and be an ex-politician at the same time?"

In response, Leader of the House Andrew Lansley chuckled and said: "Politician is an interesting description".

He added that all MPs have "the responsibility to represent our constituents both in the constituency and, in my view, here at Westminster."

Since the 2010 general election, Mr Brown has spoken five times in the House of Commons - four times on constituency issues and once on the phone-hacking affair.

The Public Whip website shows he has voted in 13.3% of divisions since 2010.

By comparison, his former Chancellor Alistair Darling has taken part in 47.1% of votes and neighbouring Labour backbencher Lindsay Roy has participated in 77.1%.

Mr Brown has received support from unlikely quarters in the House of Lords.

Lord Tebbit, the Conservative former cabinet minister, paid tribute to him during a question on tax avoidance.

He asked if the minister was "aware that a very good precedent has been set on the avoidance of tax by the immediate past prime minister, Mr Brown".

Lord Tebbit continued: "He does not pay tax on the earnings that spring from the things he does as a former prime minister because he gives all those earnings to charity.

"Is that not an example which might be followed by other former prime ministers?"

Treasury spokesman Lord Newby deflected the apparent dig at Brown's predecessor, Tony Blair, saying: "That is way above my pay grade."

More on This Story

Related Stories

More UK Politics stories



Elsewhere on the BBC

  • BikeBeautiful bikes

    These innovative and arresting new bikes are reinventing the humble two-wheeler for the 21st Century


  • Tom BrookTalking Movies Watch

    Tom Brook looks back at some of the best movies of 2014 from around the world

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.