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By Paul Goodman
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Only one former Prime Minister is currently a member of the Commons, and he wasn't there yesterday to pay tribute to Margaret Thatcher – or to criticise, in the well-chosen terms that Ed Miliband deployed, the Thatcher years.

It may be that Gordon Brown had some good reason not to attend.  But it can fairly be added that even if this is so, he's not exactly a regular speaker in the chamber.  He has mostly raised constituency cases, as he properly should, in his few interventions – though there was that extraordinary intervention on phone hacking.

I don't believe that a former Prime Minister is required to have a high voting record.  None the less, the absence of interventions from Brown on the big issues of the day is becoming more and more striking.  The "feartie from Fife", as Alex Salmond described him, has never been a great one for taking criticism on the chin.  Could it be that he simply can't bear to face the Commons?

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