Brown denies hitting staff

2010-02-21 12:04

London - British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said he has "never, never" hit anybody as his office dismissed media allegations of staff intimidation which have threatened his pre-election fight-back.

Brown admitted to a few solid tackles on the rugby pitch in his youth and throwing newspapers on the floor but said any anger was largely directed at himself, as he geared up for a general election expected in May.

"If I get angry I get angry with myself," the prime minister told Channel 4 television. "I throw the newspapers on the floor or something like that.

"Let me just say, absolutely clearly, so that there is no misunderstanding about that: I have never, never hit anybody in my life."

Book

The Observer newspaper published extracts from a book by columnist Andrew Rawnsley, which contained allegations about Brown's conduct in his 10 Downing Street office.

It alleged there had been a string of incidents, such as shouting and swearing at colleagues and thumping car seats, which left had staff shaken.

The newspaper said that "during one rage, while in his prime ministerial car, Brown clenched his fist in fury after being told some unwelcome news and then thumped the back of the passenger seat."

It added that the protection officer in the seat "flinched with shock" and "the aide sitting next to Brown... cowered because he feared 'that the prime minister was about to hit him in the face'," The Observer added, quoting from an extract.

According to the book, Britain's top civil servant, Cabinet Secretary Gus O'Donnell, told Brown to change his behaviour after reports that his fiery outbursts had frightened staff.

He reportedly told Brown: "this is no way to get things done."

O'Donnell felt the need "to calm down frightened duty clerks, badly-treated phone operators and other bruised staff" and tell them "don't take it personally", The Observer reported.

However, a spokesperson for the Cabinet Office said: "It is categorically not the case that the cabinet secretary asked for an investigation of the PM's treatment of Number 10 staff."

The prime minister's official spokesperson said: "These malicious allegations are totally without foundation and have never been put to Number 10."

Upcoming elections

The Sunday Times newspaper reported that a recent Brown television appearance, in which he showed his softer side, had helped cut the polls lead built up by the opposition Conservative Party.

A YouGov survey for the broadsheet put the Conservative lead at six percent, its lowest for more than a year and small enough to deny the centre-right party an overall majority.

Labour's rating was up two points on last month to 33%, with the Conservatives down one at 39%. The Liberal Democrats were down one at 17%.

Elsewhere, former Conservative prime minister John Major made a rare public attack, accusing Brown's government of having "failed spectacularly".

Writing in The Mail on Sunday newspaper, he said Labour inherited "the most stable and competitive economy in Europe" in 1997 but "over 13 wasted years, our finances have been squandered."

On Saturday, Brown launched "Operation Fightback", saying while he was "not perfect", voters should think twice before ousting him.

Labour announced its campaign slogan would be "A Future Fair For All".

Although official campaigning has not yet started, British politics has taken on an increasingly electioneering tone since the start of the year.

Read more on:    gordon brown  |  britain
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

 

Inside News24

 
 

DA ad scores nearly half a millions hits on YouTube

The DA's "Ayisafani" (It's not the same) election TV advert - originally pulled off the air by the SABC - has garnered nearly half a million views on YouTube.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Saturday Newlands - 12:32 PM
    Road name: M3 Inbound
    DELAYS between Wynberg Hill and UCT due to 2 Oceans Marathon
  • Thursday Sir Lowry's Pass - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Old Sir Lowrys Pass Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bezweni Road
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Samsung Galaxy Note 16GB

GALAXY Note combines the market's largest HD Super AMOLED display,...

From R3899.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Self-indulgence may be strong today. You may want to enjoy yourself to the fullest and share it with those that make you feel...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.