Now Playing

Now Playing IconNow Playing:

Evolve Radio

Artist Name

Album Art

Gordon Brown likens Starmer’s plans for slimmed down cabinet to rule under Chairman Mao

Former prime minister Gordon Brown has drawn parallels between Sir Keir Starmer’s plans for a four-person cabinet with revolutionary communist China.

Mr Brown said he was “shocked” by reports that Labour intends to form a new four-person executive cabinet if it wins the next election.

Speaking at an event alongside Conservative ex-prime minister Sir John Major, Mr Brown said the pair would “both be quite shocked and surprised if that could ever work”.

Last week The Times reported that Sir Keir was considering setting up a new cabinet consisting of himself, shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves, deputy leader Angela Rayner and Pat McFadden, the shadow chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.

Mr Brown told an audience at the Institute for Government (IfG) that the proposal “may need some further work”.

Politics latest: Nigel Farage hails defection that gives his party its first MP

“The suggestion is an inner cabinet of four, which I think [Sir] John [Major] and I would both be quite shocked and surprised if that could ever work.”

More on Gordon Brown

He said a “quadrumvirate” would be “very difficult” and added: “The historical experience of that is pretty inauspicious if I may say so – King Herod was part of a quadrumvirate where the four of them governed the Roman Empire.”

Referring to the Cultural Revolution-era foursome who led the Chinese Communist Party alongside Chairman Mao in the 1960s and 70s, he said: “And you can take it right through to recent times and the gang of four, which, if I remember right, has not survived to tell much of the tale.”

He continued: “So I think the inner cabinet idea may need some further work.

“I doubt, as John said, if the other 20 members of the cabinet would be very happy if they were told that they were outside this inner circle.”

According to The Times, the new four-person executive cabinet would make strategic decisions that would then be presented to the full cabinet, while a series of new “mission boards” could also be created to further Labour’s pledges to grow the economy and transform public services.

Mr Brown and Sir John were speaking as the IfG published a new report that argued for the break-up of the Cabinet Office and the creation of a new smaller executive cabinet committee, made up of a handful of ministers appointed by the prime minister.

In his speech to the thinktank, Sir John agreed the 32-person cabinet had become “too large and cumbersome”, but argued there were “practical drawbacks to a formal inner cabinet” suggested in the report, including that it would alienate those who are excluded.

Elsewhere in his speech, Mr Brown, who was chancellor before he was prime minister, urged the Treasury to get out of its “comfort zone” and implement a “turnaround strategy” for the economy.

He said: “We are in a make-or-break decade for our economy.

Read more:
Fears govt will use new lists of extremists to embarrass Labour
UK ‘needs to reach 2.5% of GDP for defence spending now

“Our growth levels are half what they were in the last two or three decades. Our productivity levels are now lower. The growth rate is now lower than it was at any time.”

“We cannot govern in the way we have been doing if we are going to make this a decade when we can see an economic recovery.

“We need to think with almost military precision about how we can put our economy on a war footing so that we are in a position to solve the problems I’ve just identified.”

Sky News Source