Marie Claire meets Gordon Brown

With the general election looming, Marie Claire's Andrea Thompson gets the lowdown on why Gordon Brown thinks he should get our vote

With the general election looming, and the two main parties currently neck and neck, Marie Claire’s Andrea Thompson met Prime Minister Gordon Brown, to quiz him about why he thinks he should win the female vote.

How will you take Britain from recession to recovery?
We’ve got 2.5 million more people in work under Labour. But we must widen jobs for the future and sell to China and India as well as the US and Europe. For under-25s, if you’ve been out of work for six months, we guarantee you’ll get training. For graduates, we guarantee internships. We must secure the recovery, not put it at risk by cutting front-line services such as hospitals, schools and police.

What about banking bonuses?
We’ve just introduced a new 50 per cent tax on bank bonuses. We’re also discussing the idea of a globallevy on banks so no one country is penalised and we don’t have tax havens.

We have already lost 272 soldiers in Afghanistan. How many more have to die?
One of the most difficult things in my job is to talk to a parent or wife who has lost someone. I have to ask myself every time if we are doing the right thing. But three-quarters of terrorist plots are planned in the Pakistan/Afghanistan area. If we can’t take action there to prevent al-Qaeda being so strong, we risk terror here. We all want to get a democratically elected government there so that they can police themselves and keep the country safe, and our troops can come home.

What are you doing to promote gender equality?
We introduced Britain’s first-ever minimum wage; two-thirds of the million people this helps each year are women. We’ve increased benefits for working parents, maternity leave to nine months and finally introduced the Equality Bill to close the pay gap. The Tories voted against all these things.

How will you help first-time buyers?
Our planned shared equity scheme, in which you gradually buy your home in partnership with the building society, will help people to buy earlier.

Quick-fire questions:

What three things keep your marriage strong?
‘Love, friendship and humour. Sarah is beautiful and elegant, but also determined and dignified.’

Who is your celebrity crush?
‘This is going to be controversial, isn’t it? OK, Cheryl Cole. She’s done an amazing job and is going through difficult times. I wish her well.’

Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?
‘Nelson Mandela. He’s an amazing person, but also incredibly funny. And his lovely wife, Graca Machel, who fights for women’s rights in Africa.’

Interview by Andrea Thompson. For the full article, check out this month’s Marie Claire, out now!

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