Gordon Brown to quit as British MP and concentrate on global education campaign

Gordon Brown at #UpForSchool youth rally in London

Former British prime minister Gordon Brown has announced that he will be standing down from political life and concentrating on his work as United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education.

Mr Brown said in a speech in Scotland that he will not run as a Member of Parliament in the UK General Election in May.

The former leader of the Labour Party has been an MP for an incredible 32 years. He said he and wife Sarah would strive to ensure that every child around the world was able to go to school.

Mr Brown was appointed to his education envoy role in 2012 by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Sarah is co-founder of A World at School, Executive Chair of the Global Business Coalition for Education and President of the children’s charity Theirworld.

He added: “It is she who is leading our work for children’s rights through Theirworld and A World at School, so that we achieve what seems simple but is a revolutionary idea. That this generation can be free of child labour, child marriage, child trafficking, discrimination against girls – that every single child in the world has the right to go to school.”

In recent weeks, Mr Brown delivered passionate speeches at #UpForSchool youth rallies in New York and London. At the UK event on November 19, he said that “a freedom fight is underway” – a struggle led by young people across the world. 

Gordon Brown with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

He added: “People will look back and say, in this generation in 2014, a historic civil rights struggle for the rights of young people is underway.” He told the school students in the room: “We must stand up and fight. We need you to work with us.”

Through the Global Business Coalition, Gordon and Sarah work with corporate leaders who are committed to helping deliver the promise of universal education.

He said he would continue to make Fife his home, adding: “It’s from Fife where I will do the new and extended work as the United Nations Special Envoy on Global Education.”

Mr Brown made his decision not to run in the 2015 elections after playing a key role in the Scottish independence referendum campaign. His late intervention in the debate was widely credited with helping the pro-UK Better Together campaign to victory in September.

He was first elected as a Labour MP in 1983. He was Chancellor of the Exchequer – Britain’s minister of finance – from 1997 to 2007 and then became prime minister from 2007 to 2010. At the last election, he won the Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath seat by more than 23,000 votes.

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