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Alastair Campbell and Adam Boulton TV row: full transcriptA very dignified Adam Boulton

Alastair Campbell, the former Downing Street communications chief, was involved in a furious row with Adam Boulton, the Sky News political editor. Below is a full transcript of the live on-air confrontation over Gordon Brownís resignation.

 
 

JEREMY THOMPSON:

"Iím joined here in Westminster by Alastair Campbell, good evening to you. A lot of people trying to make head or tail of what the Prime Minister said, your colleagues say itís a dignified and statesman like offering from him, those on the other side of the House saying it is a blatant piece of party gamesmanship and has nothing to do with dignity.

ALASTAIR CAMPBELL:

Well it is. I think it brings sense to this very, very complicated and difficult situation which the election result threw up. No party won, no party leader got a very clear mandate. The Tories got most seats, they got the biggest share of the vote and the options remain a minority Tory government, some sort of deal between the Tories and the Liberals and they can carry on their discussions with that but whatís happened today is that Nick Clegg has indicated to Gordon Brown that there may be sense in actually a discussion developing, there has actually been behind the scenes discussions going on but a proper policy based discussion developing between Labour and the Liberal Democrats to see whether the basis for a coalition government can be formed and I think actually a lot of people will feel that's not a bad Öif that materialises is not a bad outcome for this election. Letís just go back a bit where we were Ö

JEREMY THOMPSON:

Do you think thatís what the British people really voted for?

ALASTAIR CAMPBELL:

Well they certainly voted for change of some sort, no doubt about that Ö let me finish, they voted for change of some sort Ö

ADAM BOULTON:

I thought you wanted to have a discussion.

ALASTAIR CAMPBELL:

No, I wanted to answer Jeremyís question if I may.

ADAM BOULTON:

Oh right.

ALASTAIR CAMPBELL:

They want a change of some sort, they did not go for David Cameron despite the utterly slavish media support that he got, despite all the money from Lord Ashcroft and his friends, despite the fact that weíd had the recession and so forth, they didn't really want Cameron. There obviously has been, Gordon accepts that there was also Ö

JEREMY THOMPSON:

Well this was their least worst option. They certainly didnít give Gordon Brown an endorsement did they?

ALASTAIR CAMPBELL:

What I said was no party leader and no party won.

ADAM BOULTON:

Letís just look at the facts of the election. In the election you take three main parties Ö

ALASTAIR CAMPBELL:

Yes.

ADAM BOULTON:

... there is one party that lost both in terms of share of the vote and seats, that is Labour. There is one party that is behind the Conservatives and on top of that we have now got a Prime Minister who wants to stay on for four months but is saying he is going to resign in four months time. Now none of that, with all due respect Alastair Campbell, can be seen as a vote of confidence by the voters in the Labour party.

ALASTAIR CAMPBELL:

But nobody is saying that it is, in fact thatís the whole point Ö

ADAM BOULTON:

But youíre saying nobody won, what Iím saying is if you just look at the results there is a party that is clearly not Ö

ALASTAIR CAMPBELL:

What you are saying though, look David Cameron didnít do that much better than some of his predecessors but I accept he got more seats and a bigger share of the vote but my point is Ö

ADAM BOULTON:

A much bigger share of the vote.

ALASTAIR CAMPBELL:

Right, okay, but my point is that constitutionally Ö

ADAM BOULTON:

And the second point if I can just Ö

ALASTAIR CAMPBELL:

Can I answer the first point?

ADAM BOULTON:

The second point is if you put together the percentages of the vote or the parliamentary seats a Lib-Lab combination doesnít do it.

ALASTAIR CAMPBELL:

No, youíd then have to look at other parties Ö

ADAM BOULTON:

It doesnít have a majority so Ö

ALASTAIR CAMPBELL:

But nor has a minority Tory government.

ADAM BOULTON:

Yes, but a Lib-Conservative coalition clearly has got a majority and a majority of seats.

ALASTAIR CAMPBELL:

And that may happen, and that may happen, all thatís happened today Ö

ADAM BOULTON:

Well why not do what Malcolm Wickes says and just go quietly, accept that you lost this election? Why not do what David Blunkett says and accept that you lost this election?

ALASTAIR CAMPBELL:

Because I don't think that would be the right thing to do because I don't think that is the verdict that the public delivered.

ADAM BOULTON:

What, national interest is what you are seriously thinking about in this?

ALASTAIR CAMPBELL:

Yes, it is actually, yes.

ADAM BOULTON:

The nation needs four more months of Gordon Brown limping on until he retires?

ALASTAIR CAMPBELL:

Adam, I know that youíve been spending the last few years saying Gordon Brown is dead meat and he should be going anyway Ö

ADAM BOULTON:

Iím not saying that, show me where I said that once.

ALASTAIR CAMPBELL:

Adam, I donít want to Ö

ADAM BOULTON:

But are you saying in the national interest what the nation needs is four more months of Gordon Brown and then resign having lost an election?

ALASTAIR CAMPBELL:

I am saying, I am saying there are three options. One is a Tory minority Ö none of the are perfect, one is a Tory minority government. That would be perfectly legitimate, okay. It wouldnít be terribly stable, it might not last very long but it is legitimate. The second is a Lib-Tory deal either Ö

ADAM BOULTON:

It could be stable.

ALASTAIR CAMPBELL:

Ö which could be stable but whatís absolutely clear Adam, you canít tell the Liberal Democrats to do things they donít want to do.

ADAM BOULTON:

Iím not telling anybody to do anything.

ALASTAIR CAMPBELL:

But youíre sort of saying it is an easy option for them and itís not and whatís coming through loud and clear from a lot of the Liberal Democrats is that their activists and their supporters are saying, hold on a minute, we did not vote to get you to put David Cameron in power, we voted to stop that happening.

ADAM BOULTON:

Did they vote to keep Gordon Brown in power?

ALASTAIR CAMPBELL:

They voted Ö

ADAM BOULTON:

Did they vote to keep Gordon Brown in power?

ALASTAIR CAMPBELL:

No, they didnít and Gordon has accepted that today which is whyÖ

ADAM BOULTON:

Exactly, so on that basis you Ö

ALASTAIR CAMPBELL:

What does he do, what does he do? Just sort of says here you go, David Cameron come on in, you didnít actually get the vote you should have done, you didnít get the majority you said you were going to do Ö

ADAM BOULTON:

He got a lot more votes and seats than he did.

ALASTAIR CAMPBELL:

Yes, I know, youíre obviously upset that David Cameron is not Prime Minister.

ADAM BOULTON:

Iím not upset, you are, you keep casting aspersions and Ö

ALASTAIR CAMPBELL:

Calm down.

ADAM BOULTON:

I am commenting, donít keep saying what I think.

ALASTAIR CAMPBELL:

This is live on television.

JEREMY THOMPSON:

Alastair, Alastair Ö

ALASTAIR CAMPBELL:

Dignity, dignity

ADAM BOULTON:

Donít keep telling me what I think, this is what you do, you come on and you say you havenít won the election Ö

ALASTAIR CAMPBELL:

Jeremy Ö

ADAM BOULTON:

Ö you talk to me, Iím fed up with you telling me what I think, I donít think that.

ALASTAIR CAMPBELL:

I donít care what youíre fed up with, you can say what you like. I can tell you my opinion Ö

ADAM BOULTON:

Donít tell me what I think.

ALASTAIR CAMPBELL:

I will tell you why I think you are reacting so badly.

JEREMY THOMPSON:

Alastair, you are being a bit provocative here and unnecessarily so.

ALASTAIR CAMPBELL:

Well sometimes politics is about passionate things.

JEREMY THOMPSON:

I understand that.

ALASTAIR CAMPBELL:

He is saying Gordon Brown is no longer legitimately in Downing Street, Iím saying he is. He is.

ADAM BOULTON:

No, Iím saying look at the performances in the elections, Labour did worse than the Conservatives, will you accept that?

ALASTAIR CAMPBELL:

I know. They got more seats, of course they did, the Tories go more seatsÖ

ADAM BOULTON:

So you do accept it?

ALASTAIR CAMPBELL:

Yes. Equally Gordon Brown is constitutionally perfectly entitled to be Prime Minister and Ö

JEREMY THOMPSON:

Alastair, just tell me how Ö

ALASTAIR CAMPBELL:

Let me finish this point. He has managed this situation I think perfectly properly. He has today announced he will not be the Prime Minister Ö

ADAM BOULTON:

Can I ask you a simple question?

ALASTAIR CAMPBELL:

Yes.

ADAM BOULTON:

Why hasnít he had a Cabinet meeting before making this offer?

ALASTAIR CAMPBELL:

He is about to have a Cabinet meeting now.

ADAM BOULTON:

Yes, but now he has made the offer, what can the Cabinet do, why havenít you had a meeting with the parliamentary Labour party like the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives have had?

ALASTAIR CAMPBELL:

Heís having one tomorrow, heís having one tomorrow.

JEREMY THOMPSON:

Gentlemen, gentlemen.

ADAM BOULTON:

In other words itís you, totally unelected have plotted this with Ö

ALASTAIR CAMPBELL:

Me?

ADAM BOULTON:

Yes. You are happiest speaking about him Ö

ALASTAIR CAMPBELL:

Thatís because the Ministers are going to a Cabinet meeting Ö

ADAM BOULTON:

He has got a parliamentary party, youíre the one that cooked it up, youíre the one thatís cooked it up with Peter Mandelson.

ALASTAIR CAMPBELL:

Oh my God, unbelievable. Adam, calm down.

JEREMY THOMPSON:

Gentlemen, gentlemen, let this debate carry on later. Letís just remind you that Gordon Brown said a few minutes agoÖ

ADAM BOULTON:

I actually care about this country.

ALASTAIR CAMPBELL:

You think I donít care about it, you think I donít care about it.

ADAM BOULTON:

I donít think the evidence is there.

JEREMY THOMPSON:

Ö letís listen to Gordon Brownís statement.

Source: Sky News

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