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British PM under fire within own party -

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British PM under fire within own party

The World Today - Monday, 12 May , 2008 13:38:00

Reporter: Stephanie Kennedy

ELEANOR HALL: The British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, is facing an unprecedented attack on his
character.

He has been described by several Labour insiders as "annoying and prickly", and a man with "a
temper that can go off like a volcano". Mr Brown has also been labelled "unelectable" by those who
were once closest to him.

The unflattering descriptions come from a former deputy prime minister, a former Labour fundraiser,
and the wife of the former prime minister Tony Blair.

In London, Stephanie Kennedy reports.

STEPHANIE KENNEDY: Ghosts from the political past are coming back to haunt Britain's Prime Minister
with a trio of memoirs released making grim reading for the embattled leader Gordon Brown.

John Prescott, the former deputy prime minister, is the first member of Cabinet to lift the lid on
the relationship between Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.

He describes Mr Brown as "frustrating, annoying, bewildering and prickly," he says he often sulked
during meetings and he could "go off like a bloody volcano".

David Miliband, a Blairite is a contender for Gordon Brown's job, although he's so far rejected
moves to draft him.

DAVID MILIBAND: I work with Gordon Brown most days of the week. He's someone who is absolutely
passionate about the values that he believes in, he's clear about the goals that we're pursuing,
and yes, as he said last week, he does get into detail, but that's important. You need a prime
minister who's able to have command of the detail as well as the bigger picture.

And so I don't recognise portrait that John Prescott has set out and that's why I think the
Government has to get on with the job. Because what's faithful in politics, is if you forget what
you're actually meant to be doing, which is working on behalf of the people who elected you.

STEPHANIE KENNEDY: Another character assassination comes from Cherie Blair. There was no love lost
between the former first lady and Gordon Brown. The two had a tense relationship that occasionally
spilled over into the public domain.

Her autobiography was due out in September but it's been rushed into print, some suggest to stir
the pot at a time when Gordon Brown is at his most vulnerable.

Cherie Blair accuses Mr Brown of "rattling the keys" of Downing Street over Mr Blair's head to try
to force him out.

And she says her husband is now advising the Prime Minister on how to win the next election,
leaving the impression Gordon Brown can't win without the help of his former leader.

In Lord Levy's memoirs, the former Labour Party fundraiser says that Mr Blair has told him Gordon
Brown can't beat the Tory's David Cameron at the next election.

BARON LEVY: He just felt that Cameron was able, at that moment, he felt able to beat, to beat
Gordon. And that Gordon yet, wasn't the rounded figure that was able to win an election.

STEPHANIE KENNEDY: And that's a view that many in the Labour Party hold.

There was more bad news for Gordon Brown as he tries to turn around his flagging prime
ministership. A new opinion poll suggests his personal rating, which is already at record lows,
continues to slide.

In London, this is Stephanie Kennedy reporting for The World Today.