'Magpie' Brown accused of stealing lines from Oz PM's speech

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Sydney, Sep 24 : British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has had to defend claims that he acted like a "magpie" by stealing lines from his Australian counterpart Kevin Rudd in a key speech on Tuesday.

Brown's address to the Labour Party Conference in Manchester was widely received as being one of his finest, attacking both opposition leader David Cameron and possible challengers for the leadership within his own party, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.

But the speech has been criticised for supposedly lifting key lines from politicians around the world, including Rudd, the Daily Mail reported.

At one point, Brown told the audience: "Why do we the Labour Party strive for fairness? We do it because fairness is in our DNA."

It mirrored the line delivered by Rudd at the official launch of his election campaign last year on November 14, when he said: "We will ensure flexibility and fairness at work. For Labor, fairness is in our DNA."

Tory frontbencher Chris Grayling compared Brown to a magpie, the Daily Mail reported.

"There is something breathtakingly ironic about Gordon Brown's claim not to be interested in spin when he has clearly been hopping around like a magpie pinching ideas and phrases from politicians around the world," he told the Daily Mail.

"As always with Brown's speeches, you have normally heard it all before."

Brown was also accused of stealing lines from US presidential candidate Barack Obama and vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin.

His appeal that "this job is not about me, it's about you" mirrored Obama's address at the Democratic Convention last month, in which he said: "This election has never been about me. It's been about you."

He also made the claim: "I didn't come to London because I wanted to join the political establishment, but because I wanted and want to change it," apparently mirroring Palin's line last month: "I'm not going to Washington to seek their good opinion. I'm going to Washington to serve the people of this country."

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