Former prime minister to join expedition yacht club after leaving office

Former prime ministers Gordon Brown and John Howard are set to join the elite Antarctic expedition yacht Club Alcatraz, the company said.

The club’s website said the former PM and former PMO chief executive had joined a new yacht and were “delighted to join an expedition yacht in Antarctica”.

The club said the trio were “looking forward to meeting new friends in Antarctica and meeting with some of the world’s most amazing people”.

The former PM was last in Antarctica on May 2, 2004, and the former Prime Minister’s former deputy prime minister and current deputy prime ministers were also on the yacht.

Mr Howard, who was in Antarctica for the last time in September 2013, has a private yacht.

The former Prime Ministers former chief of staff, Michael Heseltine, is also a member of the club.

Mr Brown, who has a yacht in the Southern Ocean, has an expedition ship in the North Sea, the Daring Spirit.

Mr Heseltino was previously in charge of a group of private expeditions which included a trip to Antarctica in 2012.

The Daring Sea was the first of these expeditions.

The company said the expedition was based on a “mission-oriented” approach, with the aim of “understanding the unique and complex conditions of Antarctica”.

It said Mr Brown and Mr Heselino were part of a “long-term team of explorers” who would undertake the first two of the Club Alcaes expeditions to Antarctica.

“Gordon and John are thrilled to be joining this unique group of adventurers who will spend years together exploring Antarctica and finding new life and treasure,” the statement said.

“Their expedition is an opportunity for all of us to learn about the extraordinary landscape and people of Antarctica.”

The club was founded in 2002 and is owned by the family of the late Sir Paul Hawkes, who is a former prime minister.

It said it hoped the trio’s “experience, skills and commitment to exploration will benefit other members of the expedition and the broader Antarctic community”.

The expedition, which is due to leave Antarctica on the same day, is expected to last for six months.

Mr Hawkes died last year, but Mr Brown said he would remain on board as the club’s chairman.

He said the Club’s goal was to “understand the unique conditions and people” of Antarctica.

Mr Hirschlett said it was “a very proud moment for the Club and a great honour to have a former PM in our team”.

The company, which describes itself as a “part of the global club of explorers”, said it had been working with Mr Hesels family to raise funds for the expedition.

“He would have loved to be a part of this project, which we believe will have a profound impact on our knowledge and understanding of the Antarctic environment,” Mr Hesell said.