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I'm shy, not sexy, says British PM

world Updated: Nov 04, 2009 01:30 IST
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British Prime Minister Gordon Brown admitted he is shy and must improve his presentation skills, but insisted he cannot make himself "sexy" in time for elections next year, in comments released on Tuesday.

He has very little money, has never taken drugs and will devote himself to charity work once he leaves politics -- in contrast to his predecessor Tony Blair, who has made fortunes on the international lecture circuit, he said.

"I accept I have to do better in the presentation area. I've got my strengths and I've got my weaknesses," the 58-year-old said in an interview with the British edition of GQ monthly men's magazine to be published on Thursday.

"I'm actually shy by nature rather than extrovert, someone who feels that your actions should speak for themselves, but that's not the way politics works these days."

Asked "how are you going to make yourself sexy" ahead of the election due within seven months, Brown replied: "We've got to be exciting, definitely. But I can't change in the way you're asking me to.

"I've got to be myself and show people that what I'm doing is important and worthwhile."

The Scot, prime minister since taking over from Blair in June 2007, said he could win the forthcoming election, despite the main opposition Conservatives being well ahead in the polls.

He said: "I'm an optimist, despite my Presbyterian background!

"I'm not worried about myself, I'm not in politics for me. It's not about my future; it's about the country's future that is what people should vote on.

"I've considered what I'd do in other parts of my life, but never walking away from this job," he added.

Blair has made a fortune on lecture tours since stepping down, but Brown said that was not for him.

"When I leave office I want to be involved in charitable work," he replied.

"I've got very little money! It's very expensive being prime minister," he added.

"I gave up my prime ministerial pension that would be worth around two million pounds (3.3 million dollars, 2.2 million euros), but on my first day in office I gave it up. And my salary is frozen.

"I have never tried to make any money out of being a politician."

The premier said he spoke with Blair regularly.

"We always had a good relationship despite what people claimed," he said.

"If I ask him for advice, based on his own experience when he did this job, then he'll tell me what he thinks."

Brown said Conservative leader David Cameron was "a very good politician" but he would not hang out with him.

"No, I don't think so at all. I have my own friends," Brown said.

The Labour Party leader has agreed to head-to-head television debates with Cameron, of which he said: "I don't sweat, actually. But I hope they will be about the big issues, not what make-up people are wearing."