BBC Journo Stuns Brown with Pill-Popping Question

Labor furious after interviewer follows up Internet rumors
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 28, 2009 3:53 AM CDT

(Newser) – Gordon Brown's office and the British Labor Party are furious with the BBC after the host of the channel's flagship political program asked the prime minister if he took prescription painkillers. Downing Street had already denied the rumor, which began on the Internet. A shocked Brown responded: "No! I think this is the sort of questioning which is all too often entering the lexicon of British politics."

Brown also faced questions about his sight, which Downing Street conceded were legitimate since the prime minister has talked about his blindness in one eye. But the pill-popping question stunned both politicians and the media. Even one Brown opponent called it "really quite despicable," while a BBC correspondent told the Telegraph: "It was a bad decision." The interviewer stood firm yesterday. "So many people are talking about it that it seemed to me a fair question to ask," he said.