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Alistair Darling: We should have made Gordon Brown go

By Nigel Morris

Labour ministers should have taken bolder action to remove Gordon Brown from office, former Chancellor Alistair Darling admitted yesterday, as he laid bare the feuding that paralysed the last Government.

Mr Darling said his disagreement with Mr Brown over how to tackle the economic crisis stripped Labour of credibility and undermined its chances at the General Election.

In an interview ahead of publication of his memoirs this week, he accused his former leader of not facing up to the need to cut spending to reduce borrowing.

"My frustration is that we could have got through this, we could have charted a political way through it," he told BBC1's Andrew Marr Show. "We could have come through this. We didn't."

In a damning observation on Mr Brown's leadership style, he said the issue of how to tackle the recession was not discussed by senior ministers.

"Perhaps we should have, or I should have, forced this issue at least on to the Cabinet table, if not into the party itself."

He added: "It was so blindingly obvious to the outside world that the two of us, Gordon and myself, were at odds, that it really hampered us when it came to the election in 2010."

Mr Darling, who discloses in his book that he held a secret meeting with David Miliband at which they discussed "getting rid" of Mr Brown, conceded he and other ministers should perhaps have "done something" about his leadership.

"Why did I not do it? I'm afraid for me, despite everything - if Gordon's listening to this, he may find it difficult to believe - I had a residual loyalty, which I found very difficult to overcome."

He said the "debilitating" briefing he endured from Brown allies "left a mark on me that you really can't erase".

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