Gordon Brown has said he is “mortified” after being caught on microphone describing a voter he had just spoken to in Rochdale as a “bigoted woman”.
Gillian Duffy, 65, had challenged him on issues including immigration. As he got into his car, he was still wearing a broadcast microphone and was heard to say “that was a disaster”.
Mr Brown later spent more than half an hour at Mrs Duffy’s house, apologising to her before telling waiting reporters he had misunderstood what she had said…
He had already phoned Mrs Duffy to apologise after the tape was played to him during a BBC Radio 2 interview. After listening to the recording, with his forehead resting on his hand, he said: “I do apologise if I’ve said anything that has been hurtful.”
Mr Brown later made an even stronger apology to Labour members, saying he “profoundly regretted” the incident.
The comments were made after the conversation with Mrs Duffy which ended with him complimenting her and her family. As he went to get into his car, Mr Brown told her: “Very nice to meet you, very nice to meet you.”
But off camera, and not realising he still had a Sky News microphone pinned to his shirt, he was heard to tell an aide: “That was a disaster – they should never have put me with that woman. Whose idea was that? It’s just ridiculous…”
Asked what she had said, he is heard to reply: “Ugh everything! She’s just a sort of bigoted woman that said she used to be Labour. I mean it’s just ridiculous. I don’t know why Sue brought her up towards me.”
- BBC News
And if you can’t say something nice… don’t say nothing at all.
UPDATE 2/5/10: Unfortunately the BBC offers no way of embedding their video clips so I can only offer the link to this Taiwanese animated recreation of Bigotgate. General consensus seems to be that they’ve caught Gordon rather well but it took me twenty minutes to work out what the hell that last part was about.