Britain’s Prime Minister Gordon Brown forgot to turn off his microphone before he described a loyal Labour voter, Gillian Duffy, as a bigot for asking about immigration.
Brown, who is on campaign trail for UK elections on May 6, blamed advisers, particularly, Sue, for putting him up against Duffy, 66, and said it was a “disaster” ahead of next week’s election.
“That was a disaster, they should never have put me with that woman. Whose idea was that? It’s just ridiculous,” Brown was heard saying with the microphone still on in his ears.
Asked what Duffy had said to upset him, Brown told the aide: “Everything. She’s just a sort of bigoted woman.”
Brown’s gaffe was immediately broadcast on major UK TV channels and he was then grilled about it on a televised radio show. Slumped over with his head in his hand, Brown said he realized he had made a mistake and regretted the remarks.
Brown rushed back to the voter’s house to beg her forgiveness claiming he was a “penitent sinner”.
The gaffe, which some observers are calling a debacle, has created a massive setback for Labour Party’s Gordon Brown on the eve of the last TV debate ahead of the May 6 vote. Brown and his party depend on immigrants’ votes to carry the edge against the Conservatives but have been lately wooing the not so liberals and the independents to bring him back to power.
Duffy, who is a grandmother, met with Brown at a campaign stop and questioned him about the influx of immigrants, specially eastern Europeans, who have come to Britain. Brown satisfied her query but ended up with a gaffe that has made him lose the point he had tried to score on the campaign trail.
According to published reports, many Britons are angry that immigrants are taking jobs at a time when Britain’s unemployment level is soaring.