Exclusive: Brown ‘ignoring Boris’
Gordon Brown is yet to contact Boris Johnson following his victory in the London mayoral election, politics.co.uk has learned.
The prime minister has had ten days to telephone Ken Livingstone’s replacement in City Hall but a spokesperson confirmed he had failed to do so.
Today’s revelation comes after attacks on the prime minister’s character over the weekend, with former deputy prime minister John Prescott describing him as “frustrating, annoying. and prickly” in his memoirs.
Downing Street said Mr Brown had congratulated Mr Johnson publicly several times, including in the Commons and in television interviews. City Hall said communities secretary Hazel Blears had congratulated the new mayor.
A spokesperson for No 10 told politics.co.uk the prime minister would get in touch with Mr Johnson “when they have matters to discuss”.
But a Conservative insider suggested Tories were viewing the lack of contact as a signal that Downing Street’s relationship with City Hall will be far from fruitful.
“The mood in the Tory camp is very positive at the moment, now that Boris is installed at City Hall,” the source said.
“There was some disquiet about Brown’s failure to get in touch with Boris, who plans to carry on regardless.”
Mr Johnson has made clear his desire to work cooperatively with the national government, having drafted in a raft of advisers to ensure the Conservatives perform well in their highest executive office since 1997.
Mr Brown, by contrast, appears to be keeping the Johnson administration at arm’s length. Labour’s six-point defeat in the mayoral poll was the humiliating final setback for the national governing party in May’s local elections, which saw Labour lose 331 seats and control of nine councils.