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Brown beaten after denying his staff are
photo: World Economic Forum
Prime Minister Gordon Brown was this week forced to hit out at critics in the wake of accusations that he shoved, scared and shouted at staff, made in a sneak preview of a book in Sunday’s Observer, and further stirred by claims from the National Bullying Helpline.
Mr Brown denied on Monday that he had ever punched anybody, even though that was not included amongst the allegations. ‘I also certainly didn’t put the MoD kitten in a toaster just to watch it die,’ clarified the Prime Minister.
Labour heavy-hitters, including former Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott, came out in force to defend the embattled PM. Prescott told the press: ‘Sure, Gordon has a temper, but he gets things done; it’s not right that he should emerge from this affair with egg on his face.’
However, the government denials so enraged National Bullying Helpline chief executive Christine Pratt that she went public about a number of calls Downing Street staff had made to her charity, allegedly complaining about Brown’s behaviour. ‘Bullied people rarely speak out directly,’ she explained ‘And that’s why it’s so important that confidantes violate victims’ trust and nationally publicise such cases on their behalf, regardless of any “confidentiality” or “privacy guidelines” they may have.’
Pratt’s claims drew criticism from all quarters, with Labour supporters accusing her of being a Tory, Tories accusing her of betraying her callers’ trust, and at least three of the charity’s four patrons, including Conservative MP Anne Widdecombe, stepping down over the affair.
A BBC spokeswoman asked heads of national helplines not to be put off by the incident, and reassured them that they could call whenever they want: ‘In times of need; say it’s four in the morning, all your friends are asleep, but you’re sitting on some confidential, unverifiable political dynamite, the BBC is always there for you. We promise to provide a free, impartial, non-judgmental national soap box service, without regard for race, background, or whether your website is covered in partisan quotes.’
Contending that she was not trying to assassinate Brown’s character in the run-up to the general election, Mrs Pratt told the BBC that ‘I am not political in any way.’
Media pundit Francis T. Bargle translated: ‘What the Pratt meant was “I am not politically savvy in any way, and saw no way in which this might backfire.”’