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Friday, September 24, 1999 Published at 12:57 GMT 13:57 UK


UK Politics

Brown-Blair feud resurfaces

The relationship between Tony Blair and Gordon Brown has come under intense scrutiny

The relationship between Prime Minister Tony Blair and Chancellor Gordon Brown is the subject of renewed speculation just days before the Labour Party's annual conference.

The chancellor's former spindoctor, Charlie Whelan, has blamed Alastair Campbell, the prime minister's official spokesman, for a campaign of personal attacks on Mr Brown.


[ image: The Chancellor's former spindoctor, Charlie Whelan]
The Chancellor's former spindoctor, Charlie Whelan
The allegations against Mr Brown culminated in January last year when a "close ally" of Mr Blair was said to have accused the chancellor of having "psychological flaws".

Mr Campbell has denied being behind the attacks on the chancellor.

But a biography of Mr Campbell by the Express journalist Peter Oborne, published next week, claims he was behind the remarks.

The Guardian newspaper reports that Mr Blair had to step in and apologise to Mr Brown when the row threatened to destabilise the government.

Conference99
In Confessions of a Spin Doctor, broadcast by Channel 4 on Saturday 25 October, Mr Whelan says the prime minister accepted his office was at fault and ordered a halt.

He says: "At the end of the day even Tony realised that that was way over the top and whoever was saying this was out of order, and Tony apologised to Gordon because he realised this had to stop, they couldn't go on like this."


[ image: The
The "home-a-loan" scandal led to Charlie Whelan leaving the Treasury
Mr Whelan left his position at the Treasury earlier this year after being blamed for leaking details of Geoffrey Robinson's secret £373,000 home loan to Peter Mandelson.

A Downing Street source told The Guardian: "There is absolutely no suggestion that Alastair was in any way responsible for the 'psychological flaws' remarks and the prime minister knows that and would not have apologised.

"But there was a lot of bad air at that period and it is fair to say that everyone was very sorry about that and fortunately that it is all behind us."



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