The head of an anti-bullying charity hit out at British Prime Minister Gordon Brown tonight after revealing several Downing Street staff have called its helpline.
Christine Pratt said she had “seen red” after ministers rallied round to deny claims in a new book that the Prime Minister had been warned over his treatment of staff.
Peter Mandelson said the Prime Minister was emotional, demanding and impatient but not a bully after a new book detailed a string of alleged outbursts.
But Mrs Pratt, who founded the National Bullying Helpline after being a workplace victim herself, accused them of failing staff by “going into denial”.
“I have personally taken a call from staff in the Prime Minister’s office, staff who believe they are working in a bullying culture and that it has caused them some stress.
“We would have hoped Gordon Brown would lead by example. If an employer receives complaints they should investigate,” she said.
“I am not saying Gordon Brown is a bully, I am not a judge. But I am appalled at the outright denial that is going on without due process being followed.”
Mrs Pratt said there had been “three or four” contacts with the helpline from Downing Street staff in recent years – although others were received before Mr Brown took charge.
The book, by Observer political commentator Andrew Rawnsley, said Cabinet Secretary Gus O’Donnell was so concerned he delivered a “verbal warning” to Brown.
Downing Street denied the “malicious” allegations and the Cabinet Office said Sir Gus had not “asked for an investigation of the Prime Minister”.
But Mr Rawnsley said he was “100% sure”, based on first-hand evidence, that Sir Gus had looked into Mr Brown’s behaviour and warned him to calm down.
His book 'The End of the Party' includes accounts of Mr Brown pulling a secretary from her chair, “roughly shoving” an aide and four-letter word-filled rants that frightened staff.
The book risks undermining recent efforts to portray a softer side of Brown - such as in his television interview with Piers Morgan – although it was also reported to show examples of Mr Brown’s skill at dealing sensitively with staff facing family emergencies and bereavements.