Gillian Duffy opens Rochdale constituency office

The grandmother at the centre of Gordon Brown's "bigotgate" election disaster made another foray into politics - in support of his party.

Gillian Duffy, who the former Prime Minister branded a "bigoted woman" came this time not to bury Labour but to praise them.

She was guest of honour at the official opening of the Rochdale constituency office of the Lancashire town's new MP Simon Danczuk - the victorious Labour candidate.

The plain-speaking life-long Labour voter was credited with being a major, if inadvertent, reason for the downfall of Mr Brown.

Mrs Duffy had only popped to the shops for a loaf of bread when she came across the PM, tackled him on immigration - and moments later he forgot to turn off his microphone.

Amongst a media frenzy, a crestfallen Mr Brown was shown, head in hands, as the gaffe was repeated to him on a radio show.

Within hours the "mortified" PM made a damage-limitation personal apology back at her pebble-dashed mid-terrace home - accompanied by the world's media.

Last night Mrs Duffy shared a finger buffet and drinks with a smattering of local Labour supporters as guest of honour at the official opening.

The 66-year-old said: "I never wanted to hurt the Labour Party at all. I wanted them to get in at the last election.

"I felt very sorry for Gordon Brown, because he had everything to lose. He's been in politics a very, very long time, it's his life.

"I got a lot of cards and letters and not one of them was against me in any way.

"From all over the country they were all on the same thing, they agreed with what I asked and I only asked the question what ordinary people wanted to know the answer to.

"A lot of politicians don't have good reputations. Then it kind of gave everybody the thought that it's true what they must be thinking about ordinary people."

Mrs Duffy didn't cast her postal vote, like millions of other traditional Labour voters who deserted the party in May, though she still hoped Mr Danczuk would win despite the furore.

For the local Labour hopeful having the Prime Minister visit is normally a coup - until he opened his mouth.

Mrs Duffy added: "I thought, 'That lad's not going to get in now'. I never wanted that, I wanted a Labour MP for Rochdale.

"I was going to get in touch with Simon and go and talk to him for winning the seat, I was so thrilled for him."

Mr Danczuk said local political grandees are usually invited to open new MP's offices, their names engraved on the brass plaques for posterity.

Instead, for a party that came to be seen by many Labour voters as too London-centric, distant and out of touch, the new MP decided his office should be opened by a genuine voice of Rochdale.

"They are straight talking, not slow in coming forward and say what the issues are that needs dealing with," he said.

"Local residents are the key to politics and politicians.

"To have a local resident like Gillian, a well known local resident, I think she is the ideal person, I think it makes complete sense.

"We speak every three or four days now, we talk about politics, we've become friends."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA celebration of British elections
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg and David Cameron appeal to the audience during the Question Time special
Danny Jones was in the Wales squad for the 2013 World Cup
rugby leagueKeighley Cougars half-back was taken off after just four minutes
Life and Style
Google celebrates Bartolomeo Cristofori's 360th birthday
techGoogle Doodle to the rescue
Life and Style
The original ZX Spectrum was simple to plug into your TV and get playing on
techThirty years on, the ZX Spectrum is back, after a fashion
Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn are breaking up after nearly three years together
peopleFormer couple announce separation in posts on their websites
  • Get to the point
2015 General Election

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living