Gordon Brown has given his personal endorsement to a book by an American evangelist that attacks the “unjust” war in Iraq.
The Chancellor backed the invasion, but his support for the latest work by Jim Wallis, a progressive Baptist preacher, will fuel speculation that Mr Brown may have had personal reservations.
In a glowing foreword to God’s Politics: Why the American Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn’t Get It, Mr Brown says the pastor “challenges us to create a society that both addresses injustice and stresses personal responsibility”.
He adds: “His call for a global covenant through which rich countries meet their obligations to the poor will have a resonance across the world.”
The book was a best-seller in America last year and will be published in Britain next week.
According to Wallis, the Chancellor was in a “very difficult position” over Iraq. He told a Sunday newspaper: “His position publicly was in support of Tony Blair. Would he have taken that position himself, left to his own devices? That is for you all to speculate.”
The book compares Mr Brown and the rock star Bono with the prophet Micah, who called for swords to be turned into ploughshares.
According to Wallis, the Church is “hardwired” into Mr Brown, the son of a Church of Scotland minister. “It really is very powerful in him,” he added. “The deep commitment and motivation within him is moral and personal, not just political.”