by RAY FLEMING

I have written at some length in my Looking Around column in today's Bulletin about the accusations against Gordon Brown made by the Observer's political columnist Andrew Rawnsley in his new book The End of the Party. However, as often happens in these days of “breaking news”, some wires got crossed yesterday morning when Mrs Christine Pratt who runs the National Bullying Helpline claimed that her service had received complaints from people working at No 10 Downing Street that they had been bullied. Since bullying has been said to be one of Mr Brown's bad habits, two and two were quickly put together to make a rather larger sum than four. Mrs Pratt soon found herself on BBC Radio 4's Today programme facing the formidable John Humphrys in roaring form. It took a while to get things sorted out but eventually Mrs Pratt said “absolutely not” when asked if any of the calls had mentioned Gordon Brown. Meanwhile, both David Cameron and the Liberal leader Nick Clegg had jumped on what they perceived to be a band wagon by calling for an official inquiry into the accusations made by Andrew Rawnsley. That they should do this about a matter on which the public is perfectly well able to make up its own mind is remarkable and probably shows that they are both nervous of the steady progress that Labour has recently been making in the polls.