September 10, 2006


Brown's dream in danger as unions and MPs lose faith (George Jones, Toby Helm and Brendan Carlin, 11/09/2006, Daily Telegraph)

A poll of Labour MPs showed that fewer than half believed having Mr Brown as leader would strengthen their party's appeal to "middle England" voters, the key to Mr Blair's three election victories. [...]

It also emerged that the unions, constituency parties and a number of MPs plan to put forward their own candidate for deputy leader to succeed John Prescott.

In a sign that they want to skip a generation, they are pressing Jon Cruddas, the 44-year-old MP for Dagenham, who has had no role in any of the infighting, to stand. [...]

Mr Blair is reluctant to give Mr Brown his personal endorsement and made no attempt to counter claims by Charles Clarke, the former home secretary, that the Chancellor was a deeply flawed character who lacked the ability to get on with colleagues. [...]

It emerged yesterday that the plot against Mr Blair was hatched over a curry at a balti restaurant in Wolverhampton. One of those present, Tom Watson — who quit as a junior defence minister last Wednesday — visited the Chancellor at his Fife home on the eve of the dispatch of the letter.

Mr Brown and Mr Watson insisted the visit was purely social. Mr Watson said he was on holiday nearby at St Andrews and had dropped in for five minutes to leave a present for the Chancellor's baby son, Fraser. [...]

[A]n "anyone but Gordon" campaign is being orchestrated by Cabinet ministers close to Mr Blair, with Labour MPs and unionists openly speculating that Mr Brown's accession can no longer be seen as inevitable.

The funniest aspect of all this is that hate Tony Blair precisely for shifting them far enough Right to win in middle England.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 10, 2006 11:13 PM

I don't claim to understand British politics at all well, but doesn't Blair have the option to call for a vote of confidence general election? If he has to go, why not ask the people what they want and not knuckle under to what the crazies in his party want?

Posted by: erp at September 11, 2006 10:29 AM

No, the votes of confidence are strctly parliamentary--tests of whether his own party will vote with him. The people don't matter.

Posted by: oj at September 11, 2006 12:35 PM


Posted by: erp at September 11, 2006 5:06 PM