01 March 2010

SHOVEGATE : Aide's claim that Gordon Brown barged him reignites row over bullying at No10

Gordon Brown was under fresh pressure over allegations of bullying last night after one of his senior aides described how he was roughly pushed aside by the Prime Minister.

Stewart Wood, Mr Brown's senior foreign policy adviser, revealed how he had been left feeling 'pretty shocked' by his boss's violent behaviour. Dr Wood also discloses how the Prime Minister is 'routinely rude' to his staff and admits that his behaviour is unacceptable.

Adviser: Dr Wood, circled, walks along behind Peter Mandelson and the Prime Minister

Adviser: Dr Wood, circled, walks along behind Peter Mandelson and the Prime Minister

His version of events, which appeared yesterday in the Mail on Sunday, casts doubt over Mr Brown's denial that he has 'never, never hit anybody'.

In an interview with Channel 4 News, the Prime Minister also claimed he had never 'shoved' anybody. 'No. I don't do these sorts of things,' he said. However, Dr Wood has made it clear that Mr Brown did push him.

n a tape-recorded interview with author Suzie Mackenzie, who is writing an authorised biography of Mr Brown, the Oxford don told her: 'I was standing at the top of the stairs at No10.

'There was a reception for EU ambassadors and I was waiting with a one-pager (a one page-briefing note) to show him before he went in, to say these are the three people you need to speak to.

'And... and he was in a really bad mood. He walked up the stairs. And I leant forward and he went, "Outta my way" and he did that (Dr Wood is said to have raised his arm in a strong, sweeping gesture imitating Mr Brown's action), "get outta my way". And just walked in and then did it, smile on his face.

'They didn't notice anything was different, I was on his shoulder and then he walked off.'

Dr Wood described his own reaction, recalling: 'I did say, "Bloody hell". And I was pretty shocked.' He added: 'I do think there is an element of Gordon, that I mean, Gordon can be rude... in a kind of routine way.'

He said people at No 10 used to apologise for the way Mr Brown treated staff, but admitted that he had concerns about the Prime Minister's conduct.

'I used to think, "Oh, that's just Gordon". And I think as a team we too often say, "That's just Gordon", we all try and apologise for it. But actually it is important,' he said.

'It's become more important since he's become Prime Minister because how you deal with human beings is actually a core part of the job.'

His comments appear to back up claims by political journalist Andrew Rawnsley that the aide had been 'roughly shoved aside' by the Prime Minister. Last night, Dr Wood issued a statement insisting that the Prime Minister had never struck or punched him. Dr Wood, who is a Fellow of Magdalen College, is one of Mr Brown's closest and most loyal aides and has worked with him for many years.

In his statement, he said: 'As I explained in my private discussion with Suzie Mackenzie, allegations that Gordon struck or punched me are totally wrong. I know he would never do that to anyone.

'As I recall, he was in a hurry that day and barged past me.

'But he didn't shove me. It did annoy me at the time, but it was an isolated incident.

'Gordon is a demanding person to work for, and it is no secret that at times he loses his temper as he is impatient to get things done.'

Mr Rawnsley said: 'It is now clear that it is Gordon Brown who lied and not me. I look forward to an apology.'


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