Belfast Telegraph

Friday 31 October 2014

Gordon Brown's phone claim 'was wife talking to best pal'

The mystery over a series of lengthy late-night phone calls revealed on the Prime Minister's expenses claims has finally been solved.

Weekend reports said Gordon Brown was not — as was rumoured — seeking guidance from the Archbishop of Canterbury at the height of the financial crisis.

Instead, it was his wife Sarah chatting on the phone with her best friend, the author Gil McNeil.

Downing Street remained tight lipped on Thursday about who was the recipient of the calls to Canterbury, which were claimed by Mr Brown on his second home expenses.

The first call, at 22.15 on March 27 last year, lasted one hour and 44 minutes, but was only the third longest of six made to an unknown number in the Kent city.

A run of four calls were then placed between October 23 and November 3, with one running for just 17 minutes, but two lasting nearly an hour and one a marathon two and three quarter hours.

All but the short call took place late in the evening or at night.

The last recorded call began at 10.29pm on December 24 last year and did not end until 19 minutes past midnight on Christmas Day itself.

Miss McNeil works two days a week in Downing Street as an adviser to Mr and Mrs Brown, but is best known as an author.

One of her novels is aptly titled In The Wee Small Hours.

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Latest News

Latest Sport

Latest Showbiz