Gordon Brown's s election campaign was plunged into fresh disarray yesterday as a protester was dragged from a Labour Party event for heckling the Prime Minister over his ‘bigoted’ jibe against Gillian Duffy.
Oxford University dean Julian Borthwick was grabbed by the arm and led out of the meeting in Sunderland after shouting, ‘What about that bigoted woman?’ and telling Gordon Brown the country was ‘broke’.
Afterwards he was branded ‘an idiot’ by party officials, but he in fact holds multiple degrees, and has prestigious legal and academic credentials.
In chaotic scenes, Mr Borthwick was bundled out by stewards while the Prime Minister carried on speaking, saying there would be ‘plenty of time’ to answer questions later.
Mr Brown last night denied he had been put off by the heckler, telling The Mail on Sunday: ‘If he’d waited, he could have had his question answered.’
When challenged that Mr Borthwick had been evicted from the hall, he declined to comment.
Outside, Mr Borthwick – who denied Labour officials’ claims he was a Conservative – was engaged in a running battle with Labour officials.
Reacting to having been pushed out, he said: ‘So typical – the Labour Party likes to have a Prime Minister put into safe places where he’s never actually going to meet a real elector.’
One steward shouted at him: ‘Go home! What do you know about the North-East?’, only to be told Mr Borthwick was born and brought up in the city.