Alistair Darling has described former prime minister Gordon Brown’s leadership as “brutal and volcanic”.
Darling, the former chancellor under Brown’s Labour government, added Brown showed mistrust by using key aides to undermine him.
Darling disclosed that Brown wanted to sack him and accused him of “making bullets” which were “fired” by his political allies.
Extracts from Darling’s forthcoming memoirs, pads out the unhappy story of Gordon Brown's doomed premiership, reinforcing the image of a suspicious and driven prime minister who seemed unable to work harmoniously with anyone except a handful of aides or former aides who gave him
The reputation of Ed Balls who, unlike Gordon Brown, is still an active politician and, as shadow Chancellor, is the second most important figure on Labour's current front bench, is the most likely to be damaged from the memoirs. They confirm the rumour that he ran a parallel Treasury
operation under the Brown premiership, as Brown tried to prise Darling out of his role in 2009.
The memoirs also reveal Sir Mervyn King, Governor of the Bank of England, would have been sacked three years ago if the Labour government could have found another candidate.
Darling described Sir Mervyn as “amazingly stubborn and exasperating” and said his poor relationship with financial regulators was one of the reasons they failed to prevent the crash.
The memoirs will be a blow to Sir Mervyn's reputation as he battles to restore confidence in the economy. Earlier this month, he had to write to the present Chancellor, George Osborne, to explain why inflation is more than double the Government's target of 2 per cent. He has forecast that it will fall later in the year, and that the greater dangers are turbulence in the money markets and Europe's debt crisis, which could hit the UK's weakened economy. With these problems looming, it will not help Sir Mervyn to have the public reminded of his much-criticised handling of previous crises.
Darling’s memoirs, Back from the Brink: 1000 days at No 11, are due to be published next week and may threaten to expose ongoing splits in Labour shortly before its annual conference, which will mark the end of Ed Miliband's first year as leader. Darling received a £75,000 advance for the tome.
Extracts, leaked yesterday to the Labour Uncut website, outlined the distrust within the government during the financial crisis. According to Darling, Brown’s demeanour became increasingly “brutal and volcanic”.
Darling says he blocked the appointment of Baroness Vadera, a key aide to Brown, whom the prime minister had wanted to be a minister in the Treasury. However, he did agree to a Treasury post for Yvette Cooper, who is married to Balls and is now shadow home secretary. He says Brown had appointed her to “keep an eye” on him.
According to Darling his relationship with Brown began to deteriorate after an interview in summer 2008 in which he said the economic downturn would be the “worst for 60 years”. He says “Gordon’s attack dogs” “unleashed the forces of hell” in its wake. “This is how Gordon has operated through his political career; he makes the bullets, others fire them.”
He also confirmed that Brown had tried to sack him in a reshuffle in 2009, at which Darling threatened to resign.
It was reportedly only a “residual loyalty” to Brown that prevented him mastering plots to oust him.
Darling said the government came close to not renewing King’s contract in 2008 and that the relationship between Sir Mervyn and Adair Turner, head of the Financial Services Authority, was “prickly and strained”.