A furious row over British Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s health on Monday overshadowed Labour Party’s annual conference, underway at the seaside resort of Brighton, as he struggled to fend off a leadership challenge in the run-up to next year’s general election which the party is set to lose, according to opinion polls.

It followed a BBC interview in which he was asked live on air whether he took anti-depressants or painkillers to “help him get through”. A visibly angry Mr. Brown snapped at the interviewer saying that “this is the sort of questioning that is all too often entering the lexicon of British politics.”

He admitted that he had “problems” with his eyes but insisted that he was fit enough to carry on with his job.

“I think it would be a terrible indictment of our political system if you thought that because someone had this medical issue they couldn’t do the job... I feel that I have done everything to show people that I can do the job even with the handicap that I’ve had as a result a rugby injury,” Mr. Brown said referring to the accident in which he lost sight in one eye while playing rugby as a young man.

Labour Party accused the BBC of joining a Tory-led “smear” campaign against the Prime Minister ahead of the elections.

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