A former Downing Street aide released a trove of emails documenting the bitter power struggle between Tony Blair and Gordon Brown during their time in government.

One of the emails, released by Blair's strategic communications director Benjamin Wegg-Prosser, indicates that Brown told Blair to quit as prime minister as the public "hate him".

The 2006 email sent by Wegg-Prosser suggested that Brown was calling for Blair to endorse him as his successor.

"GB kept demanding TB's endorsement yet at the same time told that he had to leave office immediately cos the public hate him –- weird or what," it read.

Another message showed that Blair had permitted members of his staff to describe Brown's long-running bid to depose him as "blackmail".

The emails were leaked to the Guardian as Damien McBride prepared to release a tell-all book about his time as Brown's spin chief.

McBride's book is expected to criticise many leading Labour figures, including Alistair Darling who he claimed was "completely clueless".