British Premier Gordon Brown has said he had “never hit anyone in his life” amid allegations in the media that he mistreated his staff with “abusive behaviour and volcanic eruptions of foul temper”.
Things were sometimes said “in the heat of the moment. If I get angry, I get angry with myself... I throw the newspapers on the floor or something like that, but please,” Mr. Brown said in an interview to ‘Channel 4 News’
“Of course you do get angry, mostly with yourself. But I’m very strong willed, I’m very determined,” he said as the allegations threatened to overshadow ‘Operation Fightback’, a campaign launched ahead of general elections, scheduled in less than 15 weeks, to inspire ruling labour cadres and voters.
The Prime Minister said: “I think the country wants someone that will push things forward, and not allow things to be stagnant and stale, and every morning I get up with a determination to do my best for this country.”
His remarks came as ‘The Observer’ published extracts from a book by its correspondent Andrew Rawnsley, alleging that “Mr. Brown ’s abusive behaviour and volcanic eruptions of foul temper left Downing Street staff so frightened that he received an unprecedented reprimand from the head of the civil service.” Sir Gus O’Donnell, the Cabinet Secretary, “became so alarmed by the Prime Minister’s behaviour that he launched his own investigations when he received reports of Mr. Brown ’s bullying of staff,” it claimed, adding “O’Donnell then gave the Prime Minister a stern ‘pep talk’ and ordered him to change his behaviour.”
Mr. O’Donnell reportedly told Mr. Brown that “this is no way to get things done.”
The newspaper report, citing the book, alleged that there had been a number of incidents such as shouting at colleagues and thumping car seats which left Mr. Brown’s staff shaken.
Reacting to the claims, the Prime Minister’s spokesman said they were “without foundation” and “malicious“.
“These malicious allegations are totally without foundation and have never been put to No 10,” he was quoted as saying by BBC.
A Cabinet Office spokesman also said “it is categorically not the case that the Cabinet Secretary asked for an investigation of the prime minister’s treatment of Number 10 staff. These assertions have been put to the Cabinet Secretary who has rejected them.”
However, ‘The Observer’ said the book also shows the softer side of the Prime Minister, recounting how he is capable of being incredibly solicitous towards colleagues at times of family emergency and bereavement.