Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Labour minister turns on BBC's Andrew Marr over Brown's 'prescription pills' questions

Labour MPs are said to be plotting to boycott his flagship TV programme in protest at the questions about the PM's health, it emerged today.

Marr was yesterday involved in a row with housing minister Ian Austin, who confronted the BBC presenter in the main conference hotel about his Brown interview.

Some ministers are also said to be reconsidering whether to accept invitations to go on the Andrew Marr Show, which airs on Sunday mornings.

The BBC interviewer has faced strong criticism at the Labour Party conference after he asked Gordon Brown at the weekend if he took 'prescription painkillers or pills' to help him carry out his job.

Schools Secretary Ed Balls last night questioned Marr's 'integrity', telling a fringe meeting that broadcasters should not propagate false allegations put around by 'malicious bloggers'.

He added: 'It's really important that those people in positions of responsibility, not tweeting to people but broadcasting to millions, understand the nature of their power and responsibility.'

Jon Cruddas, a senior backbencher and touted as a possible leadership candidate, said Marr's conduct had been 'absolutely disgraceful' and refused to appear on his BBC show.

Marr has defended his approach, but admitted that he 'got it in the neck' at a Coalfields Communities Federation reception yesterday.

Lord Kinnock and Lord Mandelson claimed he had simply repeated rumours spread by the 'extreme Right-wing blogosphere'.

From their response we can take it that it's true then.


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