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Charles Clarke keeps out of Brown debate
The former home secretary was appearing a day after Prime Minister Gordon Brown sacked his second senior party member in two days for breaking ranks and calling for a leadership contest.
Clarke dropped his own disloyalty bombshell earlier this month when he said Labour was heading for disaster and urged Brown to step down “with honour” if he could not swiftly turn matters round.
Naturally the press were well represented in the packed hotel meeting room where Clarke had come to debate whether Labour and LibDems were allies or enemies.
As the one hour debate closed the media pack crushed round the former minister eager to record another juicy soundbite on the prime minister’s fate.
But Clarke was determined to keep his own counsel, sternly telling a TV news crew to switch off their looming camera and mike. Calming down, he explained he had taken a vow of silence on the day’s burning political issue.
“Sorry, I decided I wasn’t going to say anything about all this to anybody and I’m not going to,” he told the disappointed journalists.
One TV reporter, refusing to be put off, asked if he would be saying anything on Brown’s fate later in the week.
Showing that he hadn’t entirely lost his sense of humour, Clarke replied: “If anything occurs I’ll give you a call.” And added with a smile: “You’ll be the first to hear.”