Gordon Brown cancels a UN press conference after just one reporter turns up

Posted: September 28, 2012 in Uncategorized
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Gordon Brown learns the hard way that when you are no longer in office, it can be tough to draw a crowd.

Smile Gordon




A press conference by the former Prime Minister at the United Nations in New York was cancelled this week when not enough journalists turned up to hear him speak.

Mr Brown, who has recently been named the UN special envoy for global education, was at the United Nations General Assembly delivering a speech about a new UN initiative to put more children through school.

He was scheduled to address reporters at 4pm on Wednesday to discuss the project, but unfortunately just one journalist – a reporter from the Daily Telegraph – arrived for his briefing.

As the former Prime Minister stood in the background, a message was played on the loudspeaker reminding the media that Mr Brown was due to speak.

At about 4.20pm another message was played over the public address system informing the media that Mr Brown’s press conference was cancelled.

After waiting for 20 minutes, the Daily Telegraph was told by a press officer that Mr Brown’s planned appearance was cancelled.

Mr Brown, who was with his wife Sarah, left the United Nations’ North Lawn building shortly afterwards.

He was due to speak to the press alongside Irina Bokova, the executive director of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) but she too left due to the tiny media presence.

The former Labour PM’s audience was in stark contrast to the previous day when David Cameron drew a large crowd to his press ‘stakeout’ following his meeting with other global leaders about world poverty.

Scores of journalists crammed into the small fenced off area which is being used as the official press ‘stakeout’ area during this week’s UN General Assembly.

Mr Cameron, however, found himself answering questions about the future of Andrew Mitchell rather than the meeting he had just attended.

And the contrast was further amplified given that Mr Brown’s empty press briefing came just hours after Mr Cameron had delivered a well-received speech to a packed crowd of delegates and reporters in the United Nations assembly hall.

However losing the title of Prime minister has not always affected former incumbents’ ability to draw a crowd.

Tony Blair commands a reported £300,000 on the after-dinner speech circuit. Mr Brown too is paid handsomely for his speeches, although it is reported he commands a smaller fee, in the region of about £70,000.

The lack of a large media audience has not, however, affected Mr Brown’s ability to make headlines during his time in New York.

He opened the New York stock exchange on Tuesday, performing the traditional ringing of the bell to signal the start of the day’s trading on Wall Street.

And he created headlines later that day when he told Reuters that Europe was in a “new tranquility period”, enjoying a calm period thanks to the European Central Bank’s plan to buy debt from eurozone countries.

A spokesman for Mr Brown said he was on a panel with Aung San Suu Kyi and Queen Rania of Jordan “which overran.”





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