Biscuitgate: After 24 hours of dithering Gordon Brown finally confesses his favourite dunk
Snack decision: Gordon Brown finally plumped for a chocolate biscuit
Gordon Brown has finally revealed his favourite biscuit - after 24 hours of dithering.
The Prime Minister did nothing for his reputation for indecision when he refused to give a straight answer to the vital issue during a live web chat. But yesterday he tried to bring the 'Biscuitgate' controversy to an end by announcing that he was partial to chocolate ones.
Even then, he would not be pinned down and declined to say whether he preferred Bourbons, chocolate digestives, Jaffa cakes or American-style chocolate-chip cookies.
The Biscuitgate row started when Mr Brown answered questions on the Mumsnet website on a wide range of issues, including his recent eye problem. But it all went wrong when he repeatedly failed to respond to enquiries from parents about his favourite biscuit.
With a determination worthy of Jeremy Paxman, the question - a staple of interviews on the site - was put to Mr Brown no fewer than 12 times. Time and again he refused to answer.
One member, MadameDefarge, said: 'Maybe he needs to consult with his advisers on what would be the most vote-winning biscuit to admit to liking?'
Mr Brown left the hour-long session with the question unanswered, and afterwards Downing Street still refused to comment.
But finally at midday yesterday, he answered on his Twitter web page, writing: 'I missed Mumsnet question about biscuits: the answer is absolutely anything with a bit of chocolate on it, but trying v hard to cut down.'
Rival party leaders have been less reticent about their preferences when they appeared on Mumsnet: Tory leader David Cameron likes oatcakes, while Liberal Democrat Nick Clegg prefers Rich Tea if they are dunked and HobNobs if not.
Mr Brown had spent an hour answering Mumsnet members' questions on subjects from childcare to Afghanistan.
But things had started to go badly when he was asked if he thought he had been an unlucky Prime Minister. 'Not when I'm sitting here at Mumsnet!' he answered.
'That has to be the cringiest thing I have ever read,' came one reply.
No1 at No10: But does the PM prefer chocolate digestives to Bourbons?
'Is anyone else disappointed with the quality of the answers so far?' wrote someone called sitdownpleasegeorge. 'Please engage with a little depth, Gordon.'
Mr Brown signed off by saying why everyone should vote Labour.
Once more the mothers were unimpressed. 'I think a lot of people are cross at the political broadcast at the end,' said cleanandclothed. 'Badly misread the audience there.'
'He's lost my vote for good,' wrote FlamingoBingo. 'I'm absolutely livid!'
Last night Mumsnet's discussion forum was full of talk of 'Biscuitgate'.
One poster said: 'I think the lack of an answer from Mr Brown is just a bit hard to digestive. Grin.'
Another said: 'I have a horrid image now of Gordy stood in his pyjamas by the half light, troughing choccy biccys in handfuls.'
'I just hate the way that politicians dodge all the important questions,' said another Mumsnet member.
Another expressed anger at the attention Biscuitgate has received: 'Thing is, it's everywhere because it's been put there by Gordon Brown's PR people. It brings an element of humaness close to the subject of him. Even though he didn't answer the bloomin question (nothing new there perhaps). It was his first webchat, it was as dull as dishwater, we brought it to life and he failed. And now he's basking in the glory. Grrrr...'
Mr Brown's political reputation has never recovered from the fiasco of the on-off General Election shortly after he replaced Tony Blair two years ago, which led to him being dubbed 'Bottler Brown' by the Conservatives.
Cabinet Ministers also privately complain that he constantly dithers over major issues.