|Brown mugged on Newsbeat Posted by Ian at 4 12 PM on Tuesday, April 20|
After weeks of meeting "real voters" during the election campaign, Gordon Brown finally consented to be interviewed by some proper people today on Radio 1's Newsbeat - and was well and truly mugged.
The PM struggled to keep a lid on his volcanic temper as one young questioner refused to be fobbed off on immigration.
In a tense exchange, Brown totally failed to explain why it had taken him 13 years to come up with a credible immigration policy.
Used to being allowed to waffle and then move on to the next subject, the PM was totally unprepared for a sustained broadside on why it taken him so long to come up with a plan.
Brown could hardly decline to be quizzed by a group of first time voters, aged between 18 and 28 on one of the biggest day time audiences on radio.
But this was the first time he had felt the anger of normal punters far reomoved from the front rooms he has been meeting what the Labour Party defineas “swing voters”, who generally say “Thanks very much for coming, would you like another biscuit?”
The questions were direct and drew blood.
On the economy: "Where are the cuts going to come from?"
On expenses: "You spent £1000s on cleaning ... do you think that was right?"
On immigration: "Why weren't there controls to begin with?"
And that's just a select handful. It was all Brown could do to laugh nevously try not to explode at his press officers.
Interestingly, he said he is now paid the same as a Cabinet Minister.
He claimed: Of course I've taken a pay cut. I do what I say I'll do.
“My salary is at the same level as a cabinet minister, and not the prime minister's salary. I ordered that.
“I have said that I would take a pay cut and I asked that a pay cut be enforced upon me. And I have not taken the usual pension of prime ministers.
“I'm not in this for the money.”
According to this House of Commons factsheet, the prime minister's salary for 2009-10 was £197,689.
The salary for a cabinet minister was £144,520. No-one knew he had accepted a pay cut on this scale.
Brown also appeared to criticise Sir Thomas Legg, the auditor who ordered Brown and hundreds of other MPs to repay money.
The PM said he had only had to repay money for his cleaning bills because Legg thought "I should not be paying the cleaner a minimum wage."