Lord Malloch-Brown, the Home Office minister who announced his decision to step down from the Government earlier this week, has delivered a stinging attack on Gordon Brown despite having been considered one of the Prime Minister's closest Parliamentary allies.
The minister's career in UK politics was short and marked by controversy. Enobled and brought into the Government as part of the PM's "government of all talents," he caused a rift between No.10 and George Bush's White House administration almost as soon as he joined the Home Office. He is widely credited as being largely responsible for the success of the G20 Summit held in London earlier this year, an event which had a massive beneficial effect on Mr. Brown's reputation as a world leader and his resignation is seen by many as another blow to the PM's already precarious position as leader of the Labour party.
Malloch-Brown says that Latin American and South-East Asian countries - nations known for corruption, unrest and revolution - exhibit better "strategic thinking" than Mr. Brown's Government and that British politics are "disappointingly shortsighted." He is also said to have become angry when it was first announced that the enquiry held into the Iraq war - a conflict that he opposed - would be held in secret, a decision that was later reversed in an embarrassing U-turn for the Government.
According to colleages, "Mark [Malloch-Brown] had never worked in Whitehall before, and it is fair to say he was shocked at how everything was cobbled together at the last minute and no one took the time to plan ahead. It was not uniquely a problem with Brown, but a feature of the British political culture." He had previously put his decision to quit down to what he called "personal and family reasons," but his recent statements seem to suggest that he has always had severe misgivings about Gordon Brown, his abilities as Prime Minister and his style of politics - which is likely to be seen by the electorate as confirming their own, similar, views.