Old scores: Darling to hit out at ‘brutal and volcanic’ Brown

By Ian Dunt

Alistair Darling's forthcoming memoirs will highlight his tense and fractious relationship with Gordon Brown, according to media sources.

Extracts from Back From The Brink: 1,000 Days At No 11 seen by website Labour Uncut describe the then prime minister's increasingly "brutal and volcanic" mood swings in 2008, as the financial crisis hit.

The former chancellor, who managed to maintain his popularity inside and outside Westminster despite presiding over the financial crisis, also attacks Britain's bankers, who he describes as "so arrogant and stupid that they might bring us all down”.

Detailing the breakdown in communications between Mr Brown and himself while in power, Mr Darling wrote that he refused to work with Shriti Vadhera, a key Brown ally.

The former chancellor describes her as "only happy if there was blood on the floor – preferably that of her colleagues", according to Labour Uncut.

Ed Balls, current shadow chancellor, is also mentioned, with Mr Darling suggesting he and Ms Vadhera were effectively running a parallel Treasury in government.

Yvette Cooper, wife to Mr Balls and current shadow home secretary, was made chief secretary to the Treasury in January 2008, but Mr Darling said her primary role was to "keep an eye" on him.

The publisher of the book is refusing to confirm or deny the Labour Uncut account due to a newspaper serialisation deal set for next week but Tory party chairman Sayeeda Warsi seized on the advance reports as evidence Mr Balls was not a suitable shadow chancellor.

"Ed Balls recently claimed that he 'did his politics on the record', but he has already been shown to have been at the heart of the plot to oust Tony Blair," she said.

"Now Alistair Darling accuses him of running a shadow Treasury operation within his own government."

Mr Balls hit out at the Tory attacks on the World at One, saying the chancellor would use the memoirs as a way to escape scrutiny of his economic policy.

 "If I was George Osborne at the moment, totally on the defensive on my failing economic plans, I would think there’s nothing better than a book, a memoir, some revisiting of the past," he said.

The relationship between Mr Brown and Mr Darling was always a fraught one, especially after Mr Darling gave a newspaper interview suggesting that Britain was facing the worst economic crisis for 60 years – a quote which was later vindicated by events.

Later, he told reporters that Mr Brown had unleashed "the forces of hell" against him after the interview.

The book also reportedly confirms that Mr Brown had tried to reshuffle Mr Darling into a junior Cabinet role, to which he threatened to resign. With Mr Brown under the pressure of the financial crisis and facing a seemingly-permanent decline in his poll ratings, Mr Darling out-bluffed the prime minister.