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Gordon Brown to quit as MP and turn down seat in Lords

By Andrew Grice

Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown has confirmed in an emotional farewell speech that he will leave Parliament at next May's general election, after 32 years as an MP.

Speaking in his Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath constituency, he said he would be leaving "public office" but would continue his public service in his role as the United Nations' special envoy for global education.

He said he would turn down a seat in the House of Lords and would never return to frontline politics. But he promised to intervene in future to safeguard Britain's place in the EU, Scotland's place in the UK and the NHS. He also pledged to work for Ed Miliband's election as prime minister in May and to help Labour in the 2016 Scottish Parliament elections.

Mr Brown, who appeared with his wife Sarah and sons John and Fraser, said local people had shown "kindness" and given him "strength" when his daughter Jennifer Jane died after 10 days some 13 years ago. "We are not leaving Fife," he said. "It is London we are leaving."

Mr Brown bowed out on a high after playing a pivotal role in heading off a Yes vote in the referendum on Scottish independence in September.

He played a critical role, along with Tony Blair, in the New Labour project which made his party electable again in 1997 after 18 years in the wilderness.

As the longest-serving chancellor in living memory, his 10 years at the Treasury saw him pump billions into public services and keep Britain out of the euro - a decision that Blairites now admit he got right and their man wrong. But his tenure was marred by feuding between Brownites and Blairites. It stemmed from his decision to stand aside to give Mr Blair a free run at the Labour leadership as the modernisers' candidate when John Smith died in 1994.

His premiership never really recovered from the "non-election" of 2007, which he called off at the last minute.

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