From Jimmy Carr to Brucie – Brown's Chequers guest list is revealed

Eclectic mix of entertainers, bankers and ministers invited to join prime minister at his official country residence

Maybe it was his deadpan delivery that caught the attention of the son of the manse: Jimmy Carr won a coveted invitation from Gordon Brown to dinner at Chequers last year.

A list of the guests invited to the prime minister's official country residence did not record whether Carr left the second characteristic of his act – his smutty jokes – at home.

Brown balanced the entertainers by inviting Bruce Forsyth and, at the higher end of the entertainment scale, former director of the National Theatre Sir Richard Eyre.

John Motson, the veteran football commentator, and his wife, Anne, also broke bread with the prime minister. Motty, as he is known to fans, is, like Brown, the son of a minister, though Motson Sr was Methodist, unlike Brown's Presbyterian father.

Brown invited an eclectic mix to Chequers, with bankers, ministers and journalists appearing on the list. Sir Fred Goodwin, the former head of the Royal Bank of Scotland, was there. So too was Lord Myners, the city minister, who led the government charge against Goodwin. The list does not say whether they attended on the same night.

Other bankers included Sir Victor Blank, the former chairman of Lloyds TSB, who famously cleared the way for the merger with HBOS after meeting the prime minister at a reception; and Eric Daniels, chief executive of Lloyds TSB and of the merged bank.

Ministerial favourites shine out on the list. Ed Miliband, the climate change secretary who worked for Brown before becoming an MP, was invited. His brother David, who deeply upset the prime minister after toying with a leadership challenge last year, was not.

Baroness Vadera, the business minister, who was a Treasury adviser to Brown, was invited. Ed Balls, the schools secretary, and his wife, Yvette Cooper, the work and pensions secretary, are inevitably on the list.

But an invitation to Chequers signalled the kiss of death for other ministers. Margaret Beckett, Des Browne and Geoff Hoon, who all left the government at the last reshuffle, were in attendance.

A few chosen journalists were invited. These included two from the Guardian – deputy editor Katharine Viner and columnist Jonathan Freedland.

The list of dinner guests was one of a series of records released by Downing Street to MPs yesterday before the parliamentary recess next Tuesday.

The prime minister was given an iPod, CDs and a book (no title given) by George Bush last year. Theophilus III, the Greek Patriarch at the Church of the Nativity, gave Brown an icon painting during his visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories last July. Two gifts of wine from Nicolas Sarkozy were worth more than £140, meaning they had to be retained by Downing Street. But Brown is allowed to taste them at official receptions.


Nicholas Watt, chief political correspondent

The GuardianTramp

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