Guardian: Exclusive pictures of Gordon Brown’s last hours at Number 10

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    13th May 2010

    May 12 2010: Guardian photographer Martin Argles had exclusive access to No 10 to capture the final minutes of the Brown premiership and Labour government

    Tuesday, 11th May, evening: Gordon Brown speaks on the phone to Nick Clegg. He wants to know if their talks are all over, and if so, he is leaving right then. No "new dawn has broken" for Cameron & Clegg

    Mr Brown and his wife Sarah and two sons, as colleagues Douglas Alexander, Lord Mandelson, Alastair Campbell stand by

    Gordon Brown, flanked by Alastair Campbell, Ed Balls and Douglas Alexander writes a letter to his successor

    The tension in the room is palpable. A hunched Gordon Brown is waiting for the phone call from Nick Clegg that will determine whether his audacious power-sharing offer is acceptable. Sue Nye, his longest-serving adviser, is sitting on his left. Ed Balls, Schools Secretary and his preferred successor, is standing next to him. Alastair Campbell is on the left of the picture

    The empty cabinet table, awaiting the new cabinet

    Despair and despondency hits as the news sinks in that New Labour is finished. An unusually emotional Brown is embraced by a member of his civil service team, while others sink their heads in defeat. Brown has only hours left before he leaves Downing Street for the last time. Yes, the tears are flowing . . .

    Here is the human side of Brown that he had resolutely refused to let us see before. The pride in his sons John and Fraser is beyond question. It’s proof, if it were needed, that for Brown there is life after politics. His wife Sarah is clearly struggling to contain her emotions. Lord Adonis, the Transport Secretary and a former Lib Dem who was a key figure in the negotiations with Clegg, is behind Lord Mandelson and Campbell as they join in the warm applause for Brown as he says farewell for the last time

    We are truly brutal in this country when it comes to seeing off our prime ministers. Immediately, he and his family left their home at Number 10 Downing Street.

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    2 Responses to “Guardian: Exclusive pictures of Gordon Brown’s last hours at Number 10”

    1. little ole American Says:

      Wow! That really IS brutal! It’s like firing a manager of a department store; box up your things and get out! It does not leave time for any type of adjustment. In the States, our presidents have 6 to 8 weeks to move out of the White House. This seems all too UNCIVILIZED.
      Where is the “thank you for your service”? Where is the “Good luck to you”? It seems so very cold.

      • keeptonyblairforpm Says:

        Awful, really, little ole American. But here we are programmed to think that politicians do NOT deserve thanks for anything they try to do, whether successful or not.

        For Tony Blair it was different and an easier process, because he had decided the day he was leaving. Otherwise, this is what happens – one in, one out, on the day following the election normally. Delayed this time for a few days because no party had actually won.

        This is probably a legacy from centuries gone by when prime ministers had liitle more than a suitcase, toothbrush and pen to pack.

        Of course there are no votes in making anything easier or more comfortable for politicians. Our electorate is, imho, trained (by the press, of course) to be judgemental and also very self-serving and self-centred.

        Thus -“They Work For US” is today’s mantra.

        But even in an ordinary 9 to 5 job people are allowed notice. Not when you have the most important job in the country, it seems. You’re out on your ear. Third world. If they complained to the Human Rights courts, they’d probably lose.

        Outside Number 10 after Gordon Brown had said he was going to see the Queen, some of the press shouted “thank you, Sir”. Probably only a few of them and possibly the first time he has been addressed as “Sir”. They did give him a round of applause, though, to be fair, after his very moving speech.

        American press are SO much more polite. I am always impressed at how they stand up when the President walks into the room. We would NEVER do that here. NEVER. It would be regarded as subservient. In fact it’s only manners.

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