Gordon Brown book reveals Blair did promise he would step down in second term

Posted On: 
5th November 2017

Tony Blair promised Gordon Brown he would step down in the second term of being prime minister, in exchange for him withdrawing from the Labour leadership race in 1994.

Gordon Brown's autobiography is coming out on Tuesday
Credit: 
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Mr Brown also revealed the so-called “Granita pact” with Mr Blair had not been sealed at the restaurant which gave it its name, but hammered out days before.

“Tony had reiterated that he had wanted me to stay on as shadow chancellor and would give me control over economic and social policy.

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"This time, he added another promise – that if elected as prime minister, he would stand down in his second term,” Mr Brown writes in his autobiography, “My Life, Our Times,” which is being published on Tuesday.

“He said this was a family choice that he had already made. He wanted to be free from day-to-day politics to be with his children in their teens – the time of life when parents are most needed. It was a promise he repeated on several occasions.”

The former prime minister also claimed he was “frozen out” of Mr Blair’s leadership campaign.

“When I offered to chair Tony’s leadership campaign, he demurred. And while I helped write his leadership speeches, I was frozen out of the campaign. Long into the future, the focus of the 1994 leadership race would wrongly remain on what was said at Granita.

“The restaurant did not survive and ultimately neither did our agreement.”

GRANITA PACT

Mr Brown said his decision to withdraw from the leadership race was made days before meeting Mr Blair at the Granita restaurant.

He wrote: “I would accept his assurances. He would give me control of economic and social policy and would stand down during a second term.

"Unwilling to see the party divided in a way that would endanger the prospects for reform, in the days leading up to  May 30 I informed those closest to me of my intention not to stand.

“The rest was a formality. On May 31, I sat down again with Tony near his home in London, at a restaurant called Granita.

"Ed Balls travelled with me to the restaurant and after a few minutes he left. I always smile when commentators write that we hammered out a deal in the restaurant. The Granita discussion merely confirmed what he had already offered and I had already agreed.

“The only new point was Tony’s overture that he wanted to show that, unlike the Tories under Mrs Thatcher, Labour was not a one-person band but a partnership.

"As we walked out of the restaurant towards his home, he emphasised the word ‘partnership’ again and again, telling me it represented a new departure for British politics.”