The two Gordon Browns on display at Leveson

Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown and his wife Sarah arrive at the Royal Courts of Justice, London, to attend the Leveson Inquiry. Credit: PA

A fascinating morning at the Leveson Inquiry, which is already considered something of a classic by many long-term occupants of the Wesminster village.

For what we saw today was a clear display of the two Gordon Browns most of us have come to know very well.

There was Gordon the economic heavyweight, who ran the Treasury as a state within a state for a decade and was thus able - amongst other things - to hold out against pressure to join the euro (something for which we should arguably all be eternally grateful).

And there was the Gordon who…well, how can we put this politely? Who seems to have a severe problem facing reality.

Many of us encountered this Gordon quite often. We recall, for example, the flight between Washington and Boston during which he got into an acrimonious row with political hacks about whether anyone was going to lose out over the abolition of the 10p tax rate. We pointed out that it was a demonstrable fact that some people were going to be poorer as a result of the change. He simply refused to accept that this was the case and effectively accused us of whipping up a storm in a teacup.

But even so, his claim at Leveson today that he did not in any way authorise or approve of his aides briefing against Tony Blair has caused a lot of jaws to thump against the floor, as has his insistence that he knew nothing of the plot that resulted in Mr Blair being forced from Number Ten.

Down here, we all have our favorite briefing stories, but my own concerns a local election launch in East London held at a time of heightened rivalry between the pair.

The two men arrived late and when they did turn up, we were told that there was not going to be a press conference, as we had been promised. In full view of Mr Blair's aides, one of Mr Brown's special advisers then walked up to myself and other hacks and told us Gordon wanted us to know that "it was not in any way his idea to cancel the press conference."

The briefing torpedoed the entire launch, which was an unmitigated disaster.

Now, it is possible that Gordon did not indeed know that his adviser was going to do this. But briefings like this happened hundreds of times. So one can only say, putting it politely, that he must have had many other things on his mind….

For a decade.