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Number 10 rejects inquiry into allegations of bullying

THE government has rejected calls from the Conservatives for an inquiry into allegations of bullying at Number 10.

Calls for the inquiry follow The Observer’s claims that Gordon Brown has physically intimated staff and allegations from Christine Pratt, the founder of the National Bullying Helpline, that her charity received “three of four calls” from Downing Street staff in the past four years.

But Pratt’s claims are now in disrepute after the resignation of all the charity’s patrons, including professor Cary Cooper, an expert on workplace stress, Sarah Cawood, a television presenter and Ann Widdecombe, a senior Conservative backbencher.

The charity’s legitimacy as a national organisation is also under fire as accounts reveal that its annual income was just £1,818, leading to suggestions Pratt had used it to market her family run, for-profit consultancy business.

Business secretary Lord Mandelson yesterday said Brown was the victim of a politically-motivated smear campaign.

Meanwhile, an ICM poll for the Guardian will today reveal that the Tory lead over Labour has slipped to seven points, which would lead to a hung parliament if replicated at the general election.