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Gordon Brown has said he will serve for a full parliament if Labour is returned to power at the general election.

The prime minister told the liaison committee on Tuesday that his premiership "depends on the people" and the makeup of the next parliament is their decision.

Pressed by John Whittingdale on how long he would stay in office if Labour win, he said it is "obvious" that if he puts himself forward it would be for "the term of that election".

Brown also declined to reveal the date of the general election during his evidence, and teased Keith Vaz about a job in the Cabinet.

Questioned by Vaz about the inner workings of the Cabinet security committee, the prime minister said he wished he could show him how well the current system worked.

Vaz asked if that was an invitation to join the Cabinet Brown said any approach would not be subtle.

The liaison committee is made up of the chairs of the 32 select committees and is chaired by Alan Williams, the MP with the longest continuous service, known as the Father of the House.

The prime minister appears before the committee twice a year today's was the last session before the general election.

Brown answered questions on dealing with the deficit, invigorating democracy, counter-terrorism policy, foreign affairs and "being prime minister".

He told the committee he backs fixed-term parliaments and an alternative vote system, and denied he had stopped MoD spending on helicopters during his time as chancellor.

Brown also defended the amount of time he has spent in Northern Ireland.

He said his role is to finish the job of devolution and there are "certain issues" that can be progressed by heads of governments.

Brown also pointedly rejected his predecessor Tony Blair's relaxed style of government.

"I can assure you there is no sofa in my office," he told the committee.

On spending cuts, he reiterated his message that to cut public spending now would endanger the economic recovery and said that as chancellor in 1997 and 1998 he was not afraid to cut budgets.

On terrorism, the prime minister said that Pakistan is the "epicentre" for Islamic terrorists and it is essential to disperse and disrupt those networks.

Yemen's problem is not of the same scale, "but given the conflicts there we must make sure the Yemeni government is focused on the terror threat".

Brown said Iran must face tougher sanctions if it continues to ignore UN resolutions on its alleged nuclear weapons programme.

However, he said "our fight is not with the Iranian people".

The prime minister said the situation in Gaza is not intractable and stalemate can be broken but it would require good faith to be established between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

Brown also defended some of his 'government of all the talents,' well-known people from outside politics who he appointed as ministers.

"Many are personalities in their own right ... who make controversial statements," he said.

He said the "whole picture" shows that Lords West, Drayson and Myners, among others, benefit the whole country.

3 February 2010

 Last updated: 03/02/2010 09:46:00



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