Gordon Brown becomes Britain's new Prime Minister - by Christian Today U.K.

General June 28, 2007

by Maria Mackay and Daniel Blake - Christian Today U.K.
Posted: Wednesday, June 27, 2007, 15:24 (BST)

Gordon Brown became the new British Prime Minister Wednesday, bringing an end to Tony Blair’s decade in power.

Brown, who has waited 10 years for his turn as Prime Minister, met the Queen at Buckingham Palace on Wednesday afternoon, when she formally offered him the role of Prime Minister.

On taking up his new office, Brown promised a fresh start after a decade marred largely by the Iraq war and growing voter distrust.

"This will be a new government with new priorities," Brown said in a statement to reporters outside the Prime Minister's residence at 10 Downing Street, reports Reuters.

"I've heard the need for change ... and this need for change cannot be met by the old politics," he said. "And now let the work of change begin."

Blair tendered his resignation to the Queen earlier on Wednesday after receiving a standing ovation during his final Prime Minister’s Question Time.

The Evangelical Alliance, which represents more than a million evangelicals in the UK, welcomed Prime Minister Brown to office with a challenge to “stand up for justice, family and freedom of conscience during his premiership”.

An official statement made by the EA read: “The Alliance would like to congratulate Gordon Brown on his new office, and to welcome his openness about his Presbyterian background and how his church minister father’s ‘moral compass’ has affected his outlook on life.”

Dr R David Muir, the Evangelical Alliance’s Public Policy Director, added: “Gordon Brown has said the values he grew up with will guide him in his leadership – including honesty, family and respect for others.

“I hope these values will be evident through the policies he adopts."

“I also hope that his leadership and advocacy of a ‘new politics’ of openness and inclusion will encourage greater participation in civil society and remove some of the cynicism about politics in our country.”

The EA, along with Christian Today, are members of anti-poverty coalition ‘Micah Challenge’, which earlier this week urged Britain’s new Prime Minister to take a powerful stand to stamp out global poverty.

Andy Clasper, Micah Challenge Executive Director, said: “Gordon Brown has a great track record for getting the British Government and the international community to honour the promises they have made to the world’s poorest people.

“Now Micah Challenge is challenging him to keep up the good work and make a positive difference to the world’s poor during his time as Prime Minister.”

The Evangelical Alliance has also praised Brown’s previous commitment to overseas development and poverty reduction in Africa, but is calling on him to use his influence to goad other world leaders to deliver the Millennium Development Goals, which are far from being met.

Dr Muir welcomed the Government’s commitment to prioritising human rights, and Mr Brown’s personal promise that his party will govern “for all the people of our country”.

But he appealed to Mr Brown that in keeping this promise, he makes sure freedom of conscience is not treated as a lesser right than others, or that religious belief is not forced to become privatised.

He added that he believes moral issues such as abortion and human-animal hybrid technology will continue to present a challenge during Mr Brown’s premiership, and asked the new leader not to marginalise the important ethical implications of expected new developments in these areas.

“We also encourage him to steer clear of knee-jerk social and criminal policies, but to champion respect, tolerance, marriage and family,” he said.

“He needs to deal with the causes of crime rather than the symptoms, identifying practical and effective early intervention strategies.

“I commend Mr Brown’s commitment to family as foundational to a cohesive society, and challenge him to effectively support the family, providing better incentives for married couples and families and a better level of education to improving the life choices and chances of all young people.”

The Evangelical Alliance has also urged its member churches to continue to pray for Mr Brown and his Government, as they make vital and difficult decisions for the future of the country.