Gordon Brown is refusing to condemn Damian McBride and his robust activities while working for Brown, and nor should he.
Gordon Brown declined to condemn the actions of Damian McBride, his former aide who has confessed to smearing Labour colleagues to advance his boss’s career.
The former prime minister, who had not been seen in public since the disclosure of explosive allegations in Mr McBride’s book, repeatedly declined to comment at an event in New York.
Asked by The Daily Telegraph if he condemned Mr McBride he said nothing. Mr Brown was given four opportunities to remark on the memoir, which reveals how his aide leaked details of the personal lives of his rivals in order to smooth Mr Brown’s path to No 10.
Mr Brown was at an event to unveil a UN-backed initiative on educating children displaced in Syria’s civil war. “We have to go to another meeting now,” an aide said.
Mr McBride, who left his staff in disgrace in 2009, has reopened Labour’s internal feuds with his book, published to coincide with the party’s annual conference. He has insisted that he wrote it so that Labour can learn from his mistakes. The former spin doctor said he hoped it had not caused a “distraction”.
In an interview for the BBC’s Newsnight, Mr McBride said: “I think there are a lot of important lessons to be learned from the era when I worked in government and a lot of mistakes that were made – including a lot by me that today’s Labour Party can learn from.
“And indeed in the reaction that they have had to my book it’s clear that they are learning a lot of those lessons.”
He has been denounced by a series of former Labour Cabinet ministers, but said that his book would have been even more “damaging” if he had released it closer to the 2015 election.