Brown memoir exclusive: ‘I liked David Cameron. A lot’

The slime trail that Peter Mandelson’s book left across the body politic may still be sticky, but The Poke has had a sneak preview of the kiss-and-tell political blockbuster that everyone is really waiting for – not Tony Blair’s ‘A Journey’ but Gordon Brown’s ‘Paint the town Brown: A Scotsman in Westminster’.

Charting Brown’s rise through the Labour ranks to the top job, speculation has raged about how the former PM will frame his experiences, from the depth of his hatred for Blair, to the accusations about his bullish behaviour. The Poke can exclusively reveal however, that all of this is shadowed by the book’s key revelation: Gordon Brown likes David Cameron. Quite a lot.

The friendship started during secret meetings before the election when both sides were agreeing what subjects to avoid – the bankruptcy of the British state, for example, and all those messy wars. ‘Mandy and Hague went up to bed’, Brown writes, ‘but David and I stayed up all night swapping stories. We finished a whole bottle of Irn Bru as I recall and far from being stuck-up and posh, I found he shared my Presbyterian sense of humour. David can do a wonderful impression of Rolf Harris. Not a lot of people know that.’

The friendship struck fear into the heart of party strategists, and quickly became the most jealously guarded secret of the election. ‘We used to chat on skype when no one was looking,’ Brown reveals, ‘I’d say David, ‘I’m going to leave a whoopee cushion somewhere in Number 10. If you don’t find it in a week, you owe me a game of checkers.’ Of course, we’d call it ex-checkers. Just our little joke.’