Unrepentant Brown defends Budget as a 'plan for recovery'

PM denies hurling objects at aides and flying into fits of anger during torrid week

Gordon Brown mounted a passionate defence of the austere Budget package last night, insisting the Government was taking the right decisions for Britain's long-term prosperity.

He said it was essential to levy a new 50p top rate of tax on the super-rich and claimed the Conservatives would "cut, cut and cut again". He was speaking at the end of a torrid week for the Prime Minister, which has seen widespread criticism of the Budget measures and ridicule of his proposals for reforming MPs' expenses.

Downing Street also faced claims yesterday that Mr Brown has been under such pressure that he has thrown a variety of objects at advisers in fits of anger.

Speaking at the Labour Welsh conference in Swansea, he said the Budget amounted to a "plan for recovery". He said similar measures were being taken by President Barack Obama, adding: "If you don't invest in the future, you don't have a future."

He claimed the measures set in train by the Government would protect or create 500,000 jobs. The Prime Minister was also unrepentant about the decision to raise the top rate of tax. He said: "To equip ourselves for the future costs money. That's why it's right that those who have done best in recent years, those who earn above £150,000, pay a bigger burden."

He argued that Britain's debt levels were bigger than those in many other countries. Mr Brown – who repeatedly referred to "our new Labour Government" in response to claims the new Labour project is dead – said: "We're taking the right decisions for the short-term and the long-term."

But Downing Street was earlier thrown on the defensive over a report by the wire service Bloomberg which said it had received first-hand accounts about working alongside Mr Brown.

It claimed: "The strain shows, say current and former Brown aides. Among other things, it has inflamed a temper that has always been the subject of gallows humour among those who work with him, they say.

"The Prime Minister, 58, has hurled pens and even a stapler at aides, according to one. He says he once saw the leader ... shove a laser printer off a desk in a rage. Another aide was warned to watch out for 'flying Nokias' when he joined Brown's team.

"One staffer says a colleague developed a technique called a 'news sandwich' – first telling the Prime Minister about a recent piece of good coverage before delivering bad news, and then moving quickly to tell him about something good coming soon."

The Prime Minister's official spokesman dismissed the report as "unsubstantiated and unsourced nonsense" that he would not have expected to have read on a newswire. He said he did not recognise the events described.

After the success of the G20 summit in London three weeks ago, Mr Brown has endured a miserable rash of headlines. Controversy over the expenses claims of Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary, and Tony McNulty, the Employment minister, caused the Government severe embarrassment.

The "Smeargate" saga – which saw his adviser Damian McBride forced to quit over plans to spread malicious gossip over senior Tories – was a further setback to his hopes of recovery.

Mr Brown received a boost yesterday after a poll found he and Alistair Darling had regained their lead over David Cameron and George Osborne as the team most trusted on the economy. The survey, for BBC2's Daily Politics programme, found 34 per cent of voters trusted the Prime Minister and Chancellor most to steer Britain through the recession (up from 28 per cent at the beginning of March). A total of 31 per cent named Mr Cameron and Mr Osborne (down from 35 per cent).

A Labour MP mounted an attack on the Government's response to the recession yesterday as he announced he would step down at the next election.

Colin Burgon, the MP for Elmet, West Yorkshire, said: "The 'New Labour' approach to the market economy is both wrong and lacks the kind of values that have served this party so well in the difficult times in our history."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Life and Style
A nurse tends to a recovering patient on a general ward at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham
health
News
science
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
News
Chuck Norris pictured in 1996
people
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Lucas, I SCREAM DADDIO, Installation View, British Pavilion 2015
artWhy Sarah Lucas is the perfect choice to represent British art at the Venice Biennale
News
A voter placing a ballot paper in the box at a polling station
i100
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
The Queen (Kristin Scott Thomas) in The Audience
theatreReview: Stephen Daldry's direction is crisp in perfectly-timed revival
Sport
football
  • Get to the point
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

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

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin

£13676.46 - £16411.61 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment Cons...

Ashdown Group: Marketing or Business Graduate Opportunity - Norwich - £22,000

£18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Business and Marketing Gr...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...

Ashdown Group: Database Analyst - Birmingham - £22,000 plus benefits

£20000 - £22000 per annum + excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
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