“He has always been very sympathetic”

No mention of his Britishness debate in the only NIO statement on Gordon Brown’s visit today. Instead, they’ve set out a carefully co-ordinated one-two from the Prime Minister and his Deputy Prime Minister Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Secretary of State for Wales and Northern Ireland. Meanwhile this PA report has the responses from local party leaders, et al, to their discussions with Gordon Brown.. with the DUP seeming keenest to emphasise his, potential, future role in goverment. Updated BBC reportFrom the PA report:

“Mr Blair is still the Prime Minister,” the DUP leader said.

“I hope to meet him in two or three days` time.

“But I think we can take some comfort from the fact that perhaps the next prime minister will go the second mile with us, which is where Mr Blair has failed to go.

“The second mile, in my view, is let`s be fair to Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland has not been fairly treated financially in the past.”

While SF leader Gerry Adams is quoted:

“We have to deal with the person in charge at the moment and I am not going to engage in this speculation.

“If anybody thinks that international treaties and agreements are going to be set to one side, however, they are making a foolish mistake.”

The quotes from the UUP leader don’t mention the speculation and, while Alliance’s David Ford is concerned with “the need to tackle the waste of money as a result of segregation.”, the SDLP’s Mark Durkan indicates he believes it would be more of the same with Gordon Brown PM:

“More so than Tony Blair, Gordon Brown as prime minister would be telling Northern Ireland parties to produce answers and not to keep coming in to him with more problems.”

Update The BBC report covers much the same ground.. and adds Gordon Brown’s comments on the 24th November deadline:

“This is not a date plucked out of the air. This is a real deadline and a deadline we expect to be met”