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politics

With a Labor victory in sight, Gordon Brown is riding again – POLITICO

Some say Brown never left. Allies including his former Treasury minister Yvette Cooper and his mentee Ed Miliband are in the shadow cabinet. His formidable former press secretary, Damian McBride, returned to the fold a few years ago to become a key Labor adviser.

Other friends of Brown, nicknamed “the big banging fist” because of his emphatic political style and close allegiances, are ready to return to front-line politics. Douglas Alexander, who held several ministerial posts under Blair and Brown but lost his seat in 2015, is running for parliament in East Lothian, one of Labour’s priority seats in the next election.

Kirsty McNeill, another former Brown aide, also holds a Scottish target seat. Both Alexander and McNeill have considerable experience in the international development sector and appear destined for rapid promotion.

Brown paid close attention to selections for Scottish seats and was directly involved in candidate discussions in his native Fife, according to two people familiar with the process.

The same two people claimed the former prime minister was even tempted to return himself after two botched local selections – at Glenrothes and in his old seat of Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath – but has now definitively ruled out a return.

Cat Headley, a political commentator and former Labor candidate, said there is a continuing “respect” for Brown in Scotland, adding that he has worked in recent months to help Scottish Labor leader Anas Sarwar and his deputy Jackie Baillie. “It is part of the conversation and feeds into the work being done by Jackie and Anas and the whole Scottish Labor team,” she added.

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