Tony Blair was wrong to claim credit for one of New Labour’s biggest economic reforms, Gordon Brown has suggested.
The former prime minister told Sky News the idea to grant independence to the Bank of England was Ed Balls’ – not Mr Blair’s.
Threatening to re-open deep divisions between the two premiers, Mr Brown was visibly frustrated when he was read extracts of his old boss’s book.
He shook his head and said “no” upon hearing a quote from Mr Blair’s 2010 autobiography, ‘My Journey’, which read: “As with the Bank of England independence, the broad framework of the economy was set by me.”
Mr Brown responded: “I don’t really want to get into that; the fact of the matter is that the plan for the Bank of England independence was actually drawn up by Ed Balls.
“And he did all this work on it in 1994 after putting it forward to me as a proposal.”
He added the pair worked on the proposal for “years – not weeks”, reflecting: “It’s all history now.”
Mr Brown also used the interview with Sky News to heap praise on Jeremy Corbyn, calling him a “phenomenon”.
He backed the Labour leader on tuition fees and calling for the Universal Credit roll-out to be scrapped.
“He has managed to change the nature of political debate in this country,” Mr Brown said. “He ran an excellent campaign at the election.”
The former PM also turned on Theresa May – saying the Government “doesn’t have direction” and voiced concerns Britain was “losing its confidence”.
But he candidly admitted there were “possibly” similarities between him and Mrs May over their presentation style.
“I’m the son of a Church of Scotland minister, she was the daughter of an Anglican clergyman,” Mr Brown mused.
“I was brought up to believe you get on with the job, you don’t show your feelings in public, you’re actually reticent and undemonstrative. It was very difficult for me…
“It may have been a mistake, but for me it’s what you do and to be judged on what you achieved, rather than what you say or what style you have or whether you’re a showman or whether you’re slick. I’m not that kind of politician.”