Brown Bows Out

Former prime minister Gordon Brown has said he has no desire to return to front-line politics and will instead focus on charity work and his role as a United Nations envoy.

Mr Brown, 63, ruled out the prospect of returning to Westminster as a Labour peer during a speech confirming his intention to quit Parliament at the general election in May.

Addressing his Kirkcaldy constituents, he said he remained committed to public service, but it was time for a ''new person, with new ideas'' to represent them.

The Labour MP has focused on charity work and his role as UN special envoy for global education since his resignation as prime minister in 2010.

He said: ''We are not leaving Fife. It is London that I'm leaving and for the avoidance of any doubt, I'm not going back to Westminster, not to the House of Commons after the general election and not to the House of Lords.

''It is Fife where our home is and where we will be, where our children John and Fraser, who are here tonight, are happily at school and it is from Fife where I will do the new and extended work as the United Nations special envoy on global education.''

Mr Brown said believed in the ''moral purpose of public service'' and said he was ''ready to play whatever part I can'' in championing the causes Labour stands for in Westminster and Holyrood.

He added: ''So, although I'm standing down from public office I want to renew my commitment to public service.

''So, in the next few months I will do everything I can to secure the election of my successor here as the Member of Parliament here and the election of Ed Miliband as prime minister under a Labour government.

''In the next few months if it comes to it, I will use the skills I have learned in fighting the cause of Scotland in Britain to fight also the cause of Britain in Europe.

''And, although I have no desire to return to frontline politics, if the health service needs an additional champion, if the cause of social justice needs someone else to speak up for it, if the cause of Scotland in Britain needs someone to speak for it, and if I feel I can make a difference, then I will do everything in my power to play my part in securing the election of a Labour government in the Scottish parliament elections in 2016 as well.''

Mr Brown went on to thank his constituents for the ``chance to serve'' and for the support they had given to his family, particularly following the death of his daughter Jennifer in 2001.

''I am very grateful for everything you have done to help me and my family over the years,'' he added.

The MP, who was first elected to Parliament in 1983, was chancellor from 1997 to 2007 and then prime minister from 2007 to 2010.

His last-minute intervention in the referendum debate was widely credited with helping the pro-union Better Together campaign to victory.

A timetable he championed for devolving more powers to Scotland was later endorsed by the three UK party leaders in their vow for greater autonomy for the Scottish Parliament in the event of a No vote.

His contribution sparked speculation that he would stand for leader of Labour in Scotland - something he quickly dismissed.

Tributes to Mr Brown came from both his Labour colleagues and his political opponents.

Labour leader Ed Miliband said: ''On behalf of the Labour Party I want to thank Gordon Brown for his outstanding 32-year parliamentary career.

''He is a towering figure in British politics because, for a generation, he helped make the political weather and change our country.``

Prime Minister David Cameron said: ''Gordon has given a huge amount in terms of public service and his contribution in government and in Parliament.

''I'm sure he will go on contributing to public life after he leaves the Commons."

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: "I wish Gordon Brown well. There is no doubt that he has made an enormous contribution over many years to Scottish, UK and international politics.

"While we have clearly had our political differences - most recently in the independence referendum - he has my very best wishes as he announces his retirement from politics and for whatever he decides to do in future.''