UK

Gordon Brown expresses regret over UK financial crisis

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Media captionGordon Brown: "There is a sense of global responsibility that can be built on to create better global institutions"

Gordon Brown has said he wished his government had spotted the UK's financial crisis earlier, in his first interview since leaving Downing Street.

The former prime minister told the BBC's Zeinab Badawi he "wasn't bruised" by losing the election, and that it was the "end of an era" for him.

And he said it would have made a difference if the banking crisis had been acted upon earlier.

Mr Brown gave his interview while in Kampala, Uganda's capital.

He visited Africa to deliver his first major speech since leaving office.

When asked if he had made any mistakes, Mr Brown said: "Well, I've always said, that if we had spotted the financial crisis earlier, it would have made a difference.

"I think you learn lessons all the time, and I'm always prepared to learn lessons, and always prepared to admit that if you made a mistake you've got to say that things can be done better."

Mr Brown also said he is not considering retiring, saying he is "very cheerful" and "very relaxed" and enjoying his work as an MP in Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath.

And he denied his reputation was damaged during his time in Downing Street.

He said the election loss "wasn't bruising, it's something you just have to come to terms with, and you have to come terms with quite quickly, because things in Britain move quite quickly indeed.

"When I walked away from Downing St, and we did it as a family, my two children and Sarah, I knew that was the end of a particular era and I had to accept that, and you accept it and then you move on and say look, there are other things you can do that can make a difference."

Reforms stalled

He also said he had no interested in gaining personal honours or titles.

"I don't think the titles matter to me, they never did when I was in Downing Street, I've never been interested in honours... or just being given a name or title for doing something."

Mr Brown also suggested progress on global economic reform has stalled since the G20 in London.

"I think we dealt with the global financial crisis and therefore the economic as well as we could, but we can see all around the world governments are suffering because there is high unemployment, there are big changes, deficits and everything else and I think the greatest failure is we haven't moved on from where we were in April 2009."

Mr Brown said that "international, economic, social and political co-operation" would become increasingly important when attempting to tackle such issues as climate change, the global economic downturn and terrorism.

"I feel that with my contacts, knowledge, and the work that I've done with countries and leaders in Africa and Asia and around the world, that there is something that can be done.

"I'm there to bring people together, but I'm not after any particular job for myself."

'Unavoidable' poverty

He also said he accepted the public's decision to vote him out of office, but that he realised "there were other things that I could do".

Mr Brown also admitted his government "sometimes didn't get things right, and therefore you want to actually see whether there are things that you can do better, and if I can contribute to that I will do so.

"I'm interested to know how we can avoid future global crises, because too many people suffered unnecessarily as a result of mistakes made in the banking system. I'm also interested in how we can deal with poverty that I think is avoidable."

Meanwhile, during his speech earlier, Mr Brown had made light of losing the British general election in May.

He said he was someone who "spent some time as a politician before becoming a community organiser".

Mr Brown contrasted himself with President Barack Obama "who spent some time as a community organiser before becoming a politician".

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