Gordon Brown was guilty of misusing the powers of the prime minister when he took a politically motivated trip to visit British troops in Afghanistan, Jack Straw has said.

The former justice secretary, who served in both Tony Blair and Gordon Brown's cabinets, told BBC Radio 4 on Thursday morning that he came to realise Brown had a "remarkable propensity for double-think and disingenuity".

And he criticised him for a "paralysis" of decision making in 2007 when he failed to shut down speculation that he would call a snap general election until it was too late.

Straw said Brown's attempt to then take media attention away from the Conservative Party conference was also a big mistake.

"He went off to Afghanistan in a flat footed, ridiculous attempt to draw attention away from the Conservatives, it was a misuse of the powers of the prime minister," he said.

And Straw, who ran Brown's leadership campaign, said he had seen little point in standing for the top job himself. "What would have been the point of standing when you were just going to get crushed?"

However Straw's criticisms were not confined to Brown. He also said he "never approved" of the way Tony Blair ran the government.

"I owe Tony a huge amount, he essentially made my career," he said. "I would not have run cabinet in the way Tony did."

Related on HuffPost:

Political Meltdowns Of All Time
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  • 2Jags, the Egg and the Mullet

    Who can forget this classic? After being pelted with an egg Prescott doesn't think twice about clocking the perpetrator with a swift left hook. To be fair he deserved it just for the mullet, never mind the egg.

  • Johnson and Livingstone

    No surprise that these two would show up. In a relationship so tempestuous that it overshadows Axl Rose and Slash, Heather Mills and Paul McCartney and the time that Big Ears stole Noddy's bell, Boris Johnson and Ken Livingstone are renowned for their heated confrontations. This year's London Mayoral election reached boiling point when Johnson accused Livingstone of being "a f**king liar!" How rude.

  • Stephen Pound on Sol Campbell

    Don't let his warm smile, and werthers-original-offering-cuddly-Grandad looks fool you. Stephen Pound, MP for Ealing North, is nails. Well, you'd have to be to call <a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1277538/Labour-MP-Stephen-Pounds-foul-mouthed-football-rant.html" target="_blank">Sol Campbell "a big f***ing fairy."</a> In front of numerous children.

  • Eric Joyce's Brawl

    Not content with mere words and bypassing fisticuffs entirely,<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/02/23/eric-joyce-mp-in-commons-strangers-police-fight-stuart-andrew_n_1295628.html" target="_blank"> Eric Joyce upped the ante and went straight for hooligan's favourite method of violence, the headbutt</a>. After one or two too many sherries Joyce flew into a rage in a packed Westminster bar, headbutting Tory MP for Pudsey Stuart Andrew and allegedly attacking three other people. The police were called and Joyce was arrested.

  • The Summer Holiday

    South London rag, News Shopper thought that it had come up with a rather lovely idea for a piece when it decided to ask local MPs what their summer holiday plans were. Reporter Dan Keel set about collecting said information and was met with plans of sun, sand and then this.... DAN: Hi it's Dan from the News Shopper newspaper. I was just wondering if you received my email about MP holidays? HOLLOWAY: Ah the online lynch mob. Why don't you get on with doing some proper journalism. DAN: So you won't be answering any of my questions? HOLLOWAY: Yeah I will answer them - I will be going to Hawaii for 69 days - now f*ck off

  • Some Irish Venom

    We are now briefly hopping over to Ireland to present two superbly presented expletives. Note the ever so polite and calm introduction of "the most unparliamentary language", the pure venom in his words and the slightly pigeon-esque head movements. Not to mention the apology and attempted retraction after.

  • Brown Vs Boulton

    For one glorious second it almost looks like the two gents are about to come to actual blows, which lets face it, would be an utterly fantastic wonder. Our money would be on Brown.

  • Boulton Vs Campbell

    It all starts off so civilised... But three minutes in it starts to unravel. By 4:30 and we're taking bets.

  • Diane Abbot's Taxis

    Superb piece of grilling here as a continually smirking Portillo looks on clearly enjoying every squirming second...

  • John Bercow

    John Bercow, (pictured) Speaker of the House of Commons, has numerous benefits that come with his position. A £68,000 salary, a river view apartment in Westminster and a rather dashing black silk gown. But perhaps the greatest privilege is the right to walk in a straight line through Parliament, unimpeded by MPs who have to graciously bow out of your way as you pass. Unless you are Mark Pritchard. When accused by Bercow of blocking his path Pritchard shot back "you are not f***ing royalty," before rather politely adding "Mr Speaker."

  • Brown (again) vs Himself

    Watching Brown's face, not to mention election chances, crumble live on TV is a behemoth of a spectacle, Shakespearean in it's utter tragedy.

  • Nigel Farage on EU President Herman Van Rompuy

    One of the best political outbursts actually comes from the Ukip leader: "I don't want to be rude but, really, you have the charisma of a damp rag and the appearance of a low-grade bank clerk" Classic.

  • Galloway Vs The Israeli

    "I don't debate with Israelis." And that was it. The end of the debate.

  • The End...

    Finally, this is what happens if all your <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/05/25/ukrainian-parliamentary-brawl-tymoshenko_n_1544833.html" target="_blank">MPs collectively have a meltdown...</a>