“Let the work of change begin.” With these words, Gordon Brown took up the reins of power as the new British Prime Minister, promising sweeping changes in style and policy to restore trust in a government whose popularity is badly dented. “This will be a new government with new priorities, and I have been privileged to have been granted the great opportunity to serve my country,” he said, outside 10 Downing Street.
Taking on the resurgent centre-right of David Cameron is one of Brown’s biggest challenges. “There cannot be the change that Britain needs, and I think that people do want change. I think people should be offered the opportunity of change. People should be able to vote for change and that is why we believe there should be a general election straight away,” Cameron said.
Brown fittingly said his priorities were education, health and restoring trust in politics. But experts are not forecasting a big change in his foreign policy, particularly on Iraq. Having received the blessing of the Queen, the new prime minister is expected to announce a full Cabinet reshuffle later today. Some, however, have already jumped ship. Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt has resigned, citing “personal reasons” while Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett has been told her services are no longer required.