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UK Politics

Brown's prima donna: 'I want my espresso at 3pm!'

Gordon Brown's new cabinet enforcer has issued an 11-page document to civil servants which spells out exactly how he would like to be treated by them.

Liam Byrne has laid out detailed instructions, ranging from what type of coffee he likes – and when – to how his office should be laid out and how his diary must be cleared by each Thursday evening so he can retreat to his constituency.

The exhaustive memo compiled by the new Cabinet Office minister reads like a script from the satirical comedy programme 'The Thick of It', which pokes fun at the preposterous control-freakery of New Labour politicians.

Entitled 'Working with Liam Byrne', the document presents a list of dos and don'ts, including: "Coffee/Lunch. I'm addicted to coffee. I like a cappuccino when I come in, an espresso at 3pm and soup at 12.30-1pm. The room should be cleared before I arrive in the morning. I like the papers set out in the office before I get in. The whiteboards should be cleared. If I see things that are not of acceptable quality, I will blame you."

Mr Byrne, who is responsible for co-ordinating government departments, also orders officials to tell him "not what you think I should know but you expect I will get asked". He adds: "Never put anything to me unless you understand it and can explain it to me in 60 seconds."