Brown leaves Number 10 for the last time

GORDON BROWN left Downing Street for the final time last night, closing the door on a political career that spanned 27 years.

Flanked by wife Sarah, he delivered a gracious resignation speech in front of Number 10 in which he said it had been a “privilege to serve” as Prime Minister.

He said: “I have been privileged to learn much about the very best in human nature, and a fair amount too about its frailties, including my own.

“I loved the job, not for its prestige, its title and its ceremony, which I do not love at all. No, I loved this job for its potential, to make this country I love fairer, more tolerant, more green, more democratic, more prosperous and more just – truly a greater Britain.”

On Monday, he said he would stay on as Prime Minister until September if coalition talks between the Liberal Democrats and Labour proved fruitful.

But after the Tories brokered a power-sharing deal with the Lib Dems, he decided to step down while also announcing his immediate resignation as leader of the Labour party. It is not yet clear whether he will continue as MP for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath.

Paul Sinclair, a friend and former adviser to Brown who is now managing director of public affairs firm Hill & Knowlton, told City A.M. that Brown decided he would stand down as early as Friday morning, when it became clear that Labour had been defeated in the election.

Sinclair said: “He made his decision independently. There were three unsuccessful attempts to get rid of him and he paid no notice. This was no different.”

Sinclair, added that Brown would be leaving Number 10 with “undoubted sadness” but that he “won’t be bitter”, taking heart from the fact that “at least he’s leaving the Labour party in a better shape than he entered it”.