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Ex-Brown Aide Denies Tell-All Memoirs Will Sabotage U.K. Labour

Sept. 24 (Bloomberg) -- Damian McBride, a former aide to Gordon Brown, said he was paid more than 100,000 pounds ($160,000) for the serialization of his memoirs, adding that he was offered even more money if he held off publication until the 2015 election.

McBride, who ran Brown’s communications operation when Brown was chancellor of the exchequer and then prime minister, resigned in 2009 after newspaper reports showed e-mails that discussed publishing false claims about lawmakers from the then-opposition Conservatives.

The publication of “Power Trip: A Decade of Policy, Plots and Spin,” has dominated the Labour Party’s annual conference in Brighton, England, this week. The party leader, Ed Miliband, has faced questions about his own friendship with McBride in the period they were both working for Brown, overshadowing his efforts to establish his credentials for the election.

“I was offered a much-more-lucrative contract to publish this book in April 2015, to do maximum damage to the Labour Party,” McBride told the BBC’s Newsnight show late last night. “I don’t think it will have any effect on the outcome of the next election.” He did not say who made the offers.

The book tells of McBride’s attempts to neutralize criticism of Brown within the party by passing on to the media stories about ministers, including alcohol abuse and extramarital affairs.

Miliband, a former aide of Brown, served as energy secretary in his government until the party was ousted from power in 2010. He and his team of ministers-in-waiting have spent the conference batting away questions about how much they knew of McBride’s machinations.

The revelations come as Labour’s poll lead over Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservatives is narrowing amid a strengthening economy.

Referred to Police

Cameron’s Tories have referred McBride to London’s Metropolitan Police and called for him to be stripped of his “generous” civil service pension.

Conservative lawmaker Alun Cairns has written to police to say he is “deeply concerned that serious offenses may have been committed” as the serialization reveals McBride accessed the then chancellor’s emails without authorization.

Another Tory lawmaker, Henry Smith, has written to a government watchdog over what he alleges was evidence in the book of “serious and repeated breaches” of the code of conduct that oversees civil service behavior and called for McBride’s pension to be withdrawn.

“I’d be happy to talk to the police,” McBride said. “If they want to take my pension away that’s up to them. I am not going to sit here and plead for my civil service pension.”

“I built up a lot of debts,” McBride said. “The majority of the money I make will go to paying off those debts.”

Asked if he would return to politics, he replied, “I don’t think politics would have me, and quite rightly.”

Gordon Brown declined to comment on McBride when asked by the Daily Telegraph in New York today, where the former prime minister is attending the United Nations General Assembly.

To contact the reporters on this story: Kitty Donaldson in Brighton, England at kdonaldson1@bloomberg.net; Robert Hutton in Brighton, England at rhutton1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Hertling at jhertling@bloomberg.net

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