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Learning English - Words in the News
11 May, 2007 - Published 11:10 GMT
Brown launches leadership campaign
Gordon Brown

A day after Tony Blair announced his plans to resign as British PM, attention has turned to his most likely successor Gordon Brown. Mr Blair said the chancellor had "what it takes to lead the Labour Party and indeed the country with distinction". This report from Jon Devitt:

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The surest bet in British politics at the moment is that Gordon Brown - the man who's been in charge of Britain's economy for the last ten years - will become the next prime minister. Mr Brown's views on economic matters are pretty well established and internationally he's known among finance ministers for his grasp of detail and his intellectual rigour.

He understands the importance of Britain's traditional alliance with the United States, but will want to subtly distance himself from President Bush. When asked in an interview for Time magazine if the president was a man he could do business with, Mr Brown was rather non-committal. His natural allies are to be found among Mr Bush's political opponents in the Democrat party.

On Europe he's known to be sceptical about further EU integration and worked to prevent Britain joining the single currency, the Euro. He's barely disguised his frustration at European bureaucracy, but is thought to be an admirer of Nicolas Sarkozy and Angela Merkel.

In other areas he's been notoriously reticent about his preferred policies. In fact one of the main criticisms of Mr Brown is that throughout the last ten years he's been particularly adept at avoiding association with some of Mr Blair's more controversial decisions. Domestically Mr Brown is likely to portray his style as both more frugal and more transparent than before. Supporters of Tony Blair are suspicious that he'll take the party back towards its more traditional socialist roots. Opinion polls suggest that the British electorate is wary of Mr Brown and a claim by a former official that he is "Stalinist" in his management style didn't help. The public are unlikely to love Gordon Brown but they may respect him.

Jon Devitt, BBC

Listen to the words

The surest bet
the likeliest course of action/result

grasp of detail
good understanding of all factors, including the ones that seem less important

intellectual rigour
being logically exact

not showing much eagerness

not willing to say any more than is necessary, reserved

adept at
very skilful at, an expert in

to portray his style
to present the way in which he is going to do things

economical, not spending much money

honest, easy to see and understand

is wary of
feels cautious about

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