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UK

Brown takes questions via YouTube

LONDON (Reuters) - Gordon Brown launched a YouTube version of Prime Minister’s Questions on Monday in an attempt to connect with younger voters and dispel opposition jibes that he is not in tune with the digital age.

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Video questions can be submitted on any subject in an “Ask the PM” section on Downing Street’s YouTube website.

Brown will answer the questions which receive the most votes at the end of June, but the plan is to run the initiative on a regular basis via the video-sharing site.

“Politicians get a chance in prime minister’s question time and other question times -- I think it’s time the public had a chance,” he says.

The move follows Brown’s pledge to listen and learn after voters gave the Labour Party a drubbing in local elections earlier this month.

On Thursday, his leadership comes under further scrutiny when the electorate of Crewe and Nantwich cast their votes in a by-election, with opinion polls suggesting Labour could lose the seat.

During his YouTube clip, Brown invites questions on subjects such as globalisation, climate change, the health service, jobs and housing.

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“I am here to answer your questions,” he says.

Conservative leader David Cameron, who has appeared on live Webcam broadcasts from his breakfast table, has criticised Brown in the past for being an “analogue politician in a digital age”.

Unfortunately for Brown, the first question posted was “Why is it on every single video and on your main page that you don’t allow comments?”

Brown attempted to burnish his online credentials further when he later spoke at Google’s Zeitgeist conference in London, where he said “technological change is transforming the delivery of public services and changing the nature of the relationship between individuals and government”.

“My aim is to ensure we utilise all the innovation at our disposal to improve public services in this country and to give more power to those who use them,” he added.

“Across government and the public services we must present and distribute the information we hold in a way that enables it to be re-used by online communities, potentially reaching many millions more people and helping make Britain a country of technology pioneers.”

You can put your questions to Brown at: www.youtube.com/downingst

Editing by Steve Addison

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