Brown to Blair: 'You ruined my life'

The Rawnsley book has been dominating political debate in Westminster this week
The Rawnsley book has been dominating political debate in Westminster this week

By staff

Gordon Brown repeatedly shouted at Tony Blair that he had ruined his life in their final confrontation before the handover of power, according to new details of Andrew Rawnsley's book.

The book, which is being serialised by the Observer, has already caused a major political row this week after allegations that Mr Brown bullied staff put Labour on the back foot throughout the week.

Today's new revelations suggest that the prime minister demanded his predecessor stepped down and ensured there was no leadership contest during a volatile two-hour meeting between the two men in late 2006.

The meeting took place as a letter was being circulated among backbenchers calling on Mr Blair to step down.

"Who do you think is better than me?" Mr Rawnsley quotes Mr Brown as saying.

"Do you think there is anyone who is better than me?"

John Reid is then branded too right-wing, Alan Johnson too lightweight and David Miliband - then the most popular Blairite alternative to Mr Brown - too young.

"He [Brown] kept shouting at me that I'd ruined his life," Mr Blair allegedly told close allies after the meeting.

In another section, Mr Rawnsley recited a conversation Mr Brown had with Mr Blair on the phone when the prime minister was staying in Balmoral. The conversation followed a piece written by long-term Blair ally Alan Milburn saying the prime minister had a right to stay in Downing Street.

"The chancellor's fury was titanically demented even by his standards," Mr Rawnsley writes.

"'You put f***ing Milburn up to it,' Brown raged down the phone. 'This is factionalism! This is Trotskyism! It's f***ing Trotskyism!' Blair was nonplussed. He had not even seen the article.

"After the call, he then read it and phoned Milburn to say it was excellent. They laughed about Brown's hysterical reaction."

The new revelations will increase speculation about Mr Brown psychological temperament.

The bullying row failed to make a dent in Labour's poll rating, indicating either that the public believe a prime minister should be strong-minded and tough or they already had a low opinion of Mr Brown.

But some Westminster observers have seized on the revelations as proof Mr Brown is not psychologically fit to deal with the pressures at No 10.

Downing Street categorically denied the allegations in the first section of Mr Rawnsley's book.


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