Monday, April 27, 2009

Fist-waving Brown gets stroppy with opposition party leaders

A juicy account on that expenses meeting from Brendan Carlin:

Angry Gordon Brown shouted a ‘take it or leave it’ ultimatum at David Cameron over MPs’ expenses during an extraordinarily bad-tempered meeting between the party leaders last week.

The Prime Minister repeatedly waved his fist and stormed: ‘We have to get this sorted! We have to get this sorted!’

...Mr Brown’s outburst came at a strictly private meeting just hours after the Budget statement, attended by only the two leaders, Liberal Democrat Nick Clegg, and their respective Chief Whips.

To the Tory leader’s astonishment, Mr Brown said: ‘If you didn’t keep raising this at Prime Minister’s Questions, we wouldn’t be in this situation.’

According to sources, Mr Brown also tried to brand the Tory leader as a defender of the rich because he wants MPs to only get expenses for mortgage interest, rent and utility bills and not the infamous John Lewis list for furnishings.

Mr Brown told him several times: ‘Your proposals will only help people with big houses and big mortgages.’

Mr Cameron hit back by bluntly warning that giving MPs the same allowances but without any receipts was a disaster.

‘You will get slaughtered. You cannot propose giving people the same amount of money but with no receipts. You cannot take this to the country,’ the Tory leader replied.

After 35 minutes, to Mr Brown’s embarrassment, it was Mr Clegg who effectively called time on the meeting, saying: ‘We have been around this course enough times now – let’s stop.’

Mr Cameron left looking flushed and agitated. ‘Can you blame him? Gordon just wouldn’t listen,’ said a Tory source.

Lib Dem sources said that the Prime Minister’s manner had been ‘arrogant and bullying’.

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