Brown apologises for “bigoted woman” comment

April 28, 2010 2:08 pm

Author:

Share this Article

By Alex Smith / @alexsmith1982

UPDATE:Gordon Brown has sent the following email to Labour supporters:

As you may know, I have apologised to Mrs Duffy for remarks I made in the back of the car after meeting her on the campaign trail in Rochdale today. I would also like to apologise to you.

I know how hard you all work to fight for me and the Labour Party, and to ensure we get our case over to the public. So when the mistake I made today has so dominated the news, doubtless with some impact on your own campaigning activities, I want you to know I doubly appreciate the efforts you make.

Many of you know me personally. You know I have strengths as well as weaknesses. We all do. You also know that sometimes we say and do things we regret. I profoundly regret what I said this morning.

I am under no illusions as to how much scorn some in the media will want to heap upon me in the days ahead.

But you, like I, know what is at stake in the days ahead and so we must redouble our campaigning efforts to stop Britain returning to a Tory Party that would do so much damage to our economy, our society and our schools and NHS, not least in places like Rochdale.

The worst thing about today is the hurt I caused to Mrs Duffy, the kind of person I came into politics to serve. It is those people I will have in my mind as I look ahead to the rest of the campaign.

You will have seen me in one context on the TV today. I hope tomorrow you see once more someone not just proud to be your leader, but also someone who understands the economic challenges we face, how to meet them, and how that improves the lives of ordinary families all around Britain.

Regards,

Gordon

UPDATE: Brown’s comment is reportedly a reaction to Mrs Duffy’s remarks about immigration. That’s particularly upsetting, since LabourList has been trying to stress the importance of having an honest conversation with voters about immigration for months, for example here and here.

Yesterday, I wrote that I’d like to see Gordon Brown get “dirtier” with the public and open a street dialogue with the voting public on the campaign trail. Today, in Rochdale, Brown was apparently dealing with one such situation adriotly, responding to Gillian Duffy’s concerns about pensions and the national debt.

Unfortunately, the story will now be about what Brown said in his car afterwards, about Mrs Duffy being a “bigoted woman.”

These comments were obviously rude and unfair. They will have offended Mrs Duffy and many others like her.

Brown has already apologised to Mrs Duffy. “I hope she accepts that apology”, he added.

For activists who are fighting hard in this campaign, we cannot allow this to demotivate us: in a Channel 4 poll just taken, 70% of respondents said such a comment will not make them less likely to vote Labour.

And where I’m fighting, in Islington, and all around the country, there are bigger things at stake than worrying too much about one personality or a comment Brown should never have made. Those are the issues – housing, the economy, jobs – that this election was always going to be about.

Comments are closed

Latest

  • News Labour to cut ties with Co-op Bank as it continues to slash debts

    Labour to cut ties with Co-op Bank as it continues to slash debts

    The BBC reports this morning that the Labour Party is to cut its near century long relationship with the Co-op Bank: “The Labour Party is looking to sever its links with the troubled Co-op Bank, bringing to an end one of the oldest political partnerships in the UK. The BBC has learned that Ian McNicoll [sic], Labour’s general secretary, is looking to move loans worth more than £1m to the trade union-owned Unity Trust Bank.” Speaking to LabourList this morning, […]

    Read more →
  • Featured It’s not growth that wins elections, it’s being on the side of ordinary people

    It’s not growth that wins elections, it’s being on the side of ordinary people

    Perhaps the most misunderstood insight in the history of politics was chalked on the wall of Bill Clinton’s war-room as he ran for the Presidency in 1992: it’s the economy, stupid. Today, that phrase is being used to argue that the 2% growth predicted by the OBR for 2015 is David Cameron’s ticket back to Downing Street. What is seldom mentioned is that the US economy grew at double that level for a whole year before the 1992 election, yet […]

    Read more →
  • Comment Experience is a double edged sword

    Experience is a double edged sword

    In just over a year Labour could be back in power. That we are able to say this after the dreadful defeat we suffered in 2010 is an extraordinary testament to the leadership of Ed Miliband and the success of the electoral strategy he has doggedly pursued in the face of significant internal opposition. The Labour Party is at an odd juncture in terms of its sheer make up. Because the real power players of New Labour started making a […]

    Read more →
  • News Blair says the West must be prepared to work with Putin and the Egyptian military

    Blair says the West must be prepared to work with Putin and the Egyptian military

    Tony Blair may not have been Prime Minister for nearly seven years now, but his views – particularly on foreign policy – are always newsworthy. This morning he gave a wide-ranging and controversial speech at Bloomberg’s London HQ on the Middle East, urging the West not to pull back from the Middle East as an unsolvable problem, but to engage. Although despite the billing, this was as much a speech about faith as it was about geo-politics. At the roots of Blair’s […]

    Read more →
  • News Labour set up rapid rebuttal unit for election campaign

    Labour set up rapid rebuttal unit for election campaign

    Labour plan to step up their media monitoring process in the run up to the 2015 general election, according to The Independent. A team will be in charge of rebutting negative media to avoid a re-run of the 1992 election, where an onslaught of attacks from the press played their part in a unexpected Conservative victory. Michael Dugher, the MP in charge of Labour’s communications, is this week in the US discussing strategy with new appointment David Axelrod and other political […]

    Read more →