Gordon Brown's aides prepared him for the job of prime minister in 2007 by shouting abuse at him, his former special adviser Damian McBride has revealed.
In a blog post published on Wednesday to mark the five year anniversary of the day Brown clinched the top job, McBride said he and fellow adviser Sue Nye hurled heckles at the soon-to-be PM in order to steady him incase he was on the receiving end of the real thing when he entered Number 10.
"Given Iraq war protestors were already gathering at the Downing Street gates to see off Tony Blair, we suggested he do a few run-throughs with us heckling him so he could get used to the distraction he’d experience later," McBride wrote.
"I did always wonder what any Treasury officials passing outside the room would have thought hearing Gordon booming out: 'I will do my utmost' while I shouted back at him: 'Sod off, you Scottish Git!'"
"Sue’s heckles were from the Father Ted school ('Booo!', 'Hiss!', 'You’re a very bad man!', etc.), but I tried to get in the spirit a bit more: 'Blood on your hands, Brown!', You’re a murderer, Brown!'"
McBridge also details the "humiliating" lengths Brown went to in order to, unsuccessfully, persuade former aides to Tony Blair to stay on in Downing Street.
"If he’d succeeded," McBride said, "it would have strengthened his hand to make major departures from Blair policies in his early days.
"Proposals such as scrapping tuition fees which had been high on the list of planned announcements were shelved because Gordon didn’t feel secure enough against a Blairite backlash."
McBride also concludes that Brown's premiership would have been viewed as more of a success if he had taken more of the civil servants that knew him well from the Treasury to Downing Street.
"In No. 10, he inherited equally-brilliant, equally-expert civil servants, but – because there was not the same level of trust and confidence on his side, and the same knowledge of how best to work with him on theirs – the micro-manager within Gordon re-surfaced," he said.
McBride was forced to resign from Downing Street in April 2009 after he was found to have discussed the idea of spreading rumours about the private lives of Conservatives.Suggest a correction