Gordon Brown 'hated' Southwold holiday

Chris Fisher, political editorBy Chris Fisher, Political editorThe prime minister 'hated every minute' of his holiday near Southwold in 2008, it has been claimed.The allegation has been made in the book by Observer journalist Andrew Rawnsley that led to last week's furore over Mr Brown's 'bullying' conduct to members of staff.Chris Fisher, political editor

By Chris Fisher, Political editor

The prime minister 'hated every minute' of his holiday near Southwold in 2008, it has been claimed.

The allegation has been made in the book by Observer journalist Andrew Rawnsley that led to last week's furore over Mr Brown's 'bullying' conduct to members of staff.


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The book, The End of the Party', now claims that the Suffolk holiday was entirely the idea of his wife Sarah who chose 'the quintessential English resort to suggest that the prime minister was on the same wavelength as Middle Britain'.

She had to 'impose' the idea on her 'protesting husband', it says. And it claims that Mr Brown told a friend that 'I don't even know where it is'. The same anonymous source also commented: 'He hated every minute of it and couldn't wait to get to Scotland.'

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Mr and Mrs Brown stayed at Shadingfield, near Beccles, with their sons. There were family trips to a cinema in Lowestoft and a maze at Reydon neat Southwold. There is no record of a visit to the beach at Southwold, but the PM made a private visit to the then mayor of the town, Teresa Baggott.

The Rawnsley book states that Mrs Brown's holiday plan was approved of by 10 Downing Street officials who were 'desperate for the exhausted prime minister to get some rest'.

'Systems were put in place to stop him being bothered. These measures were not terribly successful as Brown defied their efforts to make him rest. A steady stream of his confidants slipped up to Southwold for councils of war with the prime minister.'

The visitors, he continued, included schools secretary Ed Balls, his controversial spin doctor Damian McBride - who was forced to resign last year - his director of government relations Sue Nye and former treasury minister Baroness Vadera.

They, said Rawnsley, 'discussed how they were going to save his premiership from its encircling enemies'.

An official Downing Street last night refuted the Southwold allegations in the book, and said that the PM had stressed immediately after his holiday how much he had enjoyed it.

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