Sarah Brown lifts the lid on life at No 10
By politics.co.uk staff
Sarah Brown has revealed the strange details of life in Downing Street, with bemusing stories of Silvio Berlusconi, George Clooney and the price of breakfast at No 10.
Giving an interview to the Daily Mail before the publication of her diaries, the wife of Gordon Brown also spoke about the stresses and strains of being married to the prime minister.
Of his Italian counterpart, Mrs Brown said that Mr Berlusconi, who is about to face trial charged with paying for sex with an underage girl, offered his phone number to supermodel Naomi Campbell during a dinner of world leaders in London.
She insisted that the only time she was star-struck was when meeting Barbra Streisand, but called Hollywood star and political activist Mr Clooney a “brilliant operator”.
Mrs Brown recounted an episode where Afghan president Hamid Karzai told her son Fraser that his lego men looked like Afghans, to which the boy bashed them together and screamed: “Kill, kill, kill… dead.”
About life in No 10, Ms Brown revealed that she and her husband were charged for over 200 breakfasts when they left, following Labour’s election defeat.
“We were charged for every rasher of bacon he’d ever had,” she said.
Mrs Brown was given a very smooth ride by the press during Mr Brown’s time in No 10, in contrast to the hostile coverage her predecessor Cherie Blair received.
Her charity work and low-key activities were widely praised and she built a remarkable Twitter following, which some say now makes her more influential than her husband.
“Maybe the one thing I would have changed about my role is that I would have spoken up more,” she said.
“When things were going wrong, and I was reading stories about him that simply were not true, I wonder whether I should have got more involved – to say: ‘This is just not the case’.
“The one thing that I could have done to make a difference was to be more vocal.”
But Mrs Brown remains angry with the head of the civil service, Sir Gus O’ Donnell, who she refused to shake hands with as they family left Downing Street.
“Gus and I understand that I still feel some hurt over recent events and hope to make up another day,” she said.
“You just have to know you have confidence in everyone that is working there [No 10]. I wasn’t sure I felt that with him.”