PM appeared to be having lovely holiday
PUBLISHED: 09:04 03 March 2010 | UPDATED: 16:34 06 July 2010
PRIME Minister Gordon Brown appeared to be having "a lovely time" while visiting one of Suffolk's most popular resorts - despite claims that he actually hated it.
PRIME Minister Gordon Brown appeared to be having “a lovely time” while visiting one of Suffolk's most popular resorts - despite claims that he actually hated it.
The PM visited Southwold in the summer of 2008 during a family holiday at Shadingfield Hall, near Beccles.
According to a book by Observer journalist Andrew Rawnsley he “hated every minute” of the trip, which it claims was the idea of his wife Sarah.
The book, The End of the Party, says she chose the quintessential English resort to suggest the Prime Minister was on the same wavelength as “Middle Britain”.
She had to “impose” the idea on her “protesting husband”, it continues and also claims that Mr Brown told a friend that he did not even know where Southwold was.
The same anonymous source also commented: “He hated every minute of it and couldn't wait to get to Scotland.”
But last night Teresa Baggott - who was mayor of Southwold at the time of Mr Brown's visit and met the PM - said he appeared to be having a lovely time with his family.
“He seemed very happy, if anything it was completely the opposite to what has been claimed,” she said. “We had a private meeting and after that he went to one of the little delis and bought his children an ice cream on the way. I find it hard to believe how he could have hated it. He sent me a present a few weeks later to say thank you for such a lovely time.”
Mr and Mrs Brown stayed at Shadingfield Hall, near Beccles, with their sons and there were family trips to a cinema in Lowestoft and a maze at Reydon, near Southwold.
John Gummer, MP for Suffolk Coastal, said: “How anyone could say they don't like Southwold or Suffolk is beyond me. People from all over Britain come to the county, fall in love with it, and move here.”
An official Downing Street statement refuted the Southwold allegations in the book, and said the PM had stressed immediately after his holiday how much he had enjoyed it.
Dave Hogan, who owned Shadingfield Hall at the time of the PM's visit, said: “From the thank-you letter I received, I think he had a great time with his family. He was relaxing here and that is what everyone comes to Southwold to do.
“He even had a go on my children's bouncy castle from what I've heard - but just because he was never photographed relaxing at the beach, people automatically voice opinions like these.”