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Gordon Brown To Reconnect With Voters By Appearing On Songs Of Praise

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Gordon Brown to reconnect with voters by appearing on Songs of Praise

Gordon Brown is to appear on Songs of Praise as he attempts to "reconnect" with voters in the wake of the political crisis which almost cost him his job, The Sunday Telegraph has learned.

By Jonathan Wynne-Jones and Patrick Hennessy

Published: 9:00PM BST 20 Jun 2009

The Prime Minister will be interviewed in Downing Street this week by Sally Magnusson, one of the regular presenters of the BBC's popular religious programme.

When the show – during which Mr Brown will speak about courage and the people who have inspired him – is broadcast next month the chosen hymns will include Be Still My Soul, Fight the Good Fight and Psalm 23, The Lord is My Shepherd.

Aides hope the move will help to reconnect the Prime Minister with Middle Britain after a torrid few weeks which have seen him struggle to survive the MPs' expenses scandal, Labour's worst election results since 1910 and a series of bitter ministerial resignations.

The interview will form part of a "fightback" strategy which will see Mr Brown attempt to put forward a more human image to voters.

In a far franker-than-usual newspaper interview this weekend the Prime Minister admitted the attempted coup by his Labour opponents had been the worst weeks of his political life.

He told The Guardian also said he had been "hurt" by personal attacks and added: "To be honest, you could walk away from all this tomorrow.

"I'm not interested in what accompanies being in power. I wouldn't worry if I never returned to those places – Downing street, Chequers... And it would probably be good for my children."

Although he insisted Labour could still win the next election under his leadership, he admitted weaknesses.

"I'm not as great a presenter of information or communicator as I would like to be," he said.

He added, in comments likely to raise eyebrows among MPs, that he was "not very good" at political manoeuvring. He also claimed he could become a teacher after leaving politics.

Some Labour MPs last night detected the hand of Lord Mandelson, the all-powerful Business Secretary, in Mr Brown's new penitent tone.

One said: "If I was being cynical I would say this is all a device – and just the sort of thing Peter [Mandelson] would get up to. Gordon may not have great presentational strengths but he is a political schemer to his inner core."

Mr Brown, who is expected to get on to the front foot with a series of interviews and media appearances over the next few days and weeks, said there was a "common purpose" linking him and Lord Mandelson and that the Labour Party was finally coming around to the Business Secretary.

"I think there's a great affection for him now," the Prime Minister said.

With his appearance on Songs of Praise, Mr Brown, the son of a Church of Scotland minister, will use the opportunity to court Britain's Christian vote in particular.

The BBC's flagship religious programme receives an audience of around three million viewers every Sunday.

While Songs of Praise normally features churchgoers talking about their favourite hymns, Mr Brown will appear in a special edition focusing on courage.

He wrote a book on the subject, which was published in 2007 and detailed the lives of eight figures whom he believed to exemplify courage. Other guests will include a woman who has campaigned against gun crime.

The BBC is understood to have approached the Prime Minister before the expenses scandal engulfed parliament, but the programme could nevertheless present him with an opportunity to reassert his credentials as a devout and honest politician.

He has previously referred to being guided by a "moral compass", and last month claimed that the revelations over expenses had offended his "Presbyterian conscience".

A BBC spokesman said that it was likely that David Cameron, the Conservative leader, would be invited to appear on the show at a later date.

Even though Alastair Campbell, the former Labour spin doctor, declared "We don't do God", Tony Blair was advised in 2006, after Mr Campbell had left Downing Street, that he should appear on the show, before departing office.

Whilst Mr Blair did not appear on Songs of Praise on that occasion, he gave an interview to the show in 2000, as did William Hague, then the Conservative leader.


I'm trying not to swear considering the religious nature of the thread.

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In fairness he does need to say his prayers.


Just BO11OX.

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Do they still have songs of praise?

i last saw that in 1976......

thats the program thats on on a Sunday right, and is essentially live footage from inside churches? Showing old people trying to look proper when on the TV.

Arnt they all the same churches that are otherwise empty on Sunday where they get all the womens institutes, cubs, scouts, guides, cadets and other member of the hitler youth to make up the numbers?

tell me they dont show that program anymore....

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Unfortunately for gordo, if God does exist, He will see right through this megaspin, and hopefully send a mini-thunderbolt right through his head....

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Er Gordon to planet Earth!

Who does he think this is going to connect with? The only people that watch this programme will more likely by dead by the general election. I though such things were only kept running with taxpayers subsidy under the public service remit - essentially no one watches them.

God is Dead. Gordon is Dead Too.

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Praise be!

This is almost as funny as the toupee thread

Funnier, or am I just splitting hairs here?

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Unfortunately for gordo, if God does exist, He will see right through this megaspin, and hopefully send a mini-thunderbolt right through his head....

Rather like this?


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I will admit it seems like a bit of a joke really. The Labour party seem to be doing a lot of PR at the moment, probably trying to shake off the damage to their reputation caused in the last year or so.

Pictures just in of members of the congregation welcoming our great leader

Am I the only person who finds that picture incredibly disturbing? A young child, who probably doesn't fully understand why he hates those people he is holding those placards up to?

That is exploitation of the highest order, and is sick. :angry:

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