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Brown hails Cole as 'soft-spoken giant of journalism'

Gordon Brown has joined Ed Miliband and David Cameron in paying tribute to the BBC's former political editor. Credit: DPA/Press Association

Former prime minister Gordon Brown has added his tribute to BBC broadcaster John Cole, who has died at the age of 85 after a long illness.

The statement from Mr Brown said: "John Cole was the soft-spoken giant of journalism whose friendly manner and unimpeachable integrity allowed him to ask the difficult questions that got to the heart of an issue.

"Respected by all, he leaves a great legacy of writing and commentating which will serve the test of time."

Cabinet secretary 'warned Brown' about McBride

Gordon Brown was warned about taking controversial spin doctor Damian McBride with him from the Treasury when he became Prime Minister, a former Cabinet secretary has said.

Lord O'Donnell said the incoming Prime Minister chose to ignore his advice in 2007, which he now believed had been "damaging" to Mr Brown.

Lord O'Donnell and (left) Damian McBride.
Lord O'Donnell (left) and Damian McBride. Credit: PA/ PA Wire

Lord O'Donnell, who was speaking at an event at the Cheltenham Literature Festival, said Mr McBride had "gone off the territory" - even as a civil servant.

"I advised Gordon Brown when he was coming across to No, 10 not to take Damian with him and he chose to. Again I think that was damaging for Gordon Brown," he said.

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Gordon Brown dodges Damian McBride questions

Gordon Brown has refused to answer questions over revelations made by his former spin doctor Damian McBride.

Mr Brown was at an event to unveil a UN-backed initiative on educating children displaced in Syria’s civil war when he was repeatedly asked by a Telegraph journalist if he condoned Mr McBride's actions which have been revealed as his new memoir has been serialised in the Daily Mail.

However the former Prime Minister appeared to completely ignore all questions regarding Mr McBride.

Note: This video has now been removed at the request of the owner, but you can watch it on the Telegraph website.

Brown and others need to answer McBride claims

by - Political Editor

Damian McBride has returned to this conference a little bit like a bad smell.

I should say for the record that I never did any business with Damian McBride because I thought that his way of doing things was very very toxic right from the start.

I think there are certainly people who have questions to answer about it not least Gordon himself, who employed him for such a long time. Is it really fair to lay all of that at Ed Balls and Ed Milibands door?

I'm not sure, but what I would say with reasonable confidence is that I don't think that is going to change the atmosphere around them now.

Campbell: McBride's book 'will be forgotten in no time'

Former director of communications at Number 10 Alastair Campbell has told ITV's Daybreak that his "anger" with Damian McBride has nothing to do with his new book "which will be forgotten in no time" but by his "utterly despicable behaviour" while in government.

Read: Alastair Campbell - Gordon Brown's ex-aide 'broke the law'

Mr Campbell said the tactics employed by Gordon Brown's former spin doctor, who has released his memoirs, was "one of the reasons we now have a Conservative government".

Tony Blair's former communications chief also spoke to the ITV show about Britain's "problem with booze".

In an article for ITV News last week, Mr Campbell said the first step for Britain was to admit it had a drink problem.

Alexander says he 'paid the price' for opposing McBride

Shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander has told Labour activists he "paid a price" for opposing former Brown aide Damian McBride's "destructive" style of politics.

Mr Alexander was hit by claims in the spin doctor's book that he ''dispassionately'' advised Gordon Brown that his sister would have to quit her role as the party's Scottish leader.

Shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander.
Shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander. Credit: Danny Lawson/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Wendy Alexander stood down from the post in 2008 following a row about donations to her leadership campaign.

Mr Alexander told the Progress rally: "What Damian McBride represented wasn't just the way politics is or just some briefing, it was destructive, divisive and deeply damaging to our party."

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Spin doctor confirms Miliband told Brown to sack him

In an exchange with the Daily Telegraph diarist Tim Walker on Twitter, former spin doctor Damian McBride confirmed Ed Miliband had told Gordon Brown to sack him:

1c576e358e4c8deb8fa2f30ff1ec9ffd_normal

@ed_miliband claims he told Gordon to sack @dpmcbride. I just can't see Ed having the guts. When will @officegsbrown confirm or deny this?

84a89b55f2c9ff0841020b1fc62c849d_normal

.@thattimwalker I can confirm that myself Tim. He complained about me and told Gordon to get rid. Quite right too.

84a89b55f2c9ff0841020b1fc62c849d_normal

.@thattimwalker I don't know what tone he used, Tim, but remember he did succeed in getting me removed from my press briefing job, Oct '08.

Yvette Cooper: McBride was 'out of control'

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper has accused Gordon Brown's former aide Damian McBride of being "out of control".

Cooper, whose husband Ed Balls was a key Brownite, told Sky News' Murnaghan programme: "I think this is ... about a kind of politics that really is appalling, that we should never go back to.

"It is something that happened some years ago, but I think it's a sign of how much the Labour Party has changed, the very different climate, the very different way in which Ed Miliband is managing things and operating things now, that's a good thing.

"We don't want to go back to the navel gazing of the past."

Alastair Campbell: Brown's ex-aide 'broke the law'

Alastair Campbell, Tony Blair's former spin doctor, has accused Damian McBride of breaking the law by leaking the content of confidential documents from government computers, raising the possibility of a police investigation, according to the Sunday Times (£).

Alastair Campbell, Tony Blair's former spin doctor pictured in 2003. Credit: Chris Young/PA

Mr Campbell branded McBride, who was Gordon Brown’s spin doctor, a “shyster” and said he “has admitted not just to venality but criminality”.

Mr Campbell said: “I think the other thing that people should be aware of is he [McBride] has admitted to criminal offences in this,”

Brown 'to blame for corrupt antics' of spin doctor

Former Labour Minister Tessa Jowell has said Gordon Brown is to blame for the "disgusting and corrupt" antics of his Downing Street spin doctor Damian McBride.

Dame Tessa Jowell said Gordon Brown is to blame for 'corrupt antics' of spin doctor. Credit: Peter Byrne/PA Wire

"There was a corrupt culture which had nothing to do with serving the British people but was about personal ambition," she said in an interview with The Mail on Sunday.

"I feel sickened it was not just tolerated but encouraged at the heart of government. Gordon is not an innocent, it is inconceivable he did not know what Damian was doing".

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