Gillian Duffy: Sorry is a very easy word

By politics.co.uk staff

Gillian Duffy has revealed how Gordon Brown pleaded with her to shake hands on her front door step after he called her a “bigot”.

The 65-year-old grandmother from Rochdale spent 40 minutes closeted with the prime minister in her home after he rushed back to apologise for the gaffe.

Mr Brown had called her a bigot in the back of his car after an encounter on immigration issues, having not realised his microphone was still on.

He later said he was a “penitent sinner” in a smiling apology to the press outside her home, after she refused to join him.

“He wanted me to outside with him [and] shake hands in front of all the cameras, but I didn’t want that fuss,” she told the Mail on Sunday newspaper.

“They say you go through stages of emotions and that you get angry. But I’m not angry, I’m sad really.

“I’d often said to my brother, ‘I wish Gordon Brown would come to Rochdale. I’d like to meet him, I’d like to talk him.’ Well, I wish he hadn’t bothered now.”

Ms Duffy revealed she discussed issues including tax credits, benefits and the national debt, as well as immigration, in their private discussion.

The conversation has not changed her shocked views, however. She does not intend to send her postal ballot, but will vote in the local elections.

Ms Duffy said Mr Brown’s ungentlemanly tone was more upsetting than his dismissal of her views as ‘bigoted’.

“I’m not ‘that woman’,” she protested.

“It’s no way to talk to someone, that, is it? As if I’m brushed away. Why couldn’t he have said ‘that lady’?

And displaying an insightful understanding of the national political situation, she added: “He asked, ‘do you ever come down to London? If you ever come down you must come to No 10 and meet me and Sarah’.

“Well, I just looked at him. I didn’t like to say it, but all I could think was I don’t think you’ll be there.”