June 6, 2009

IT'S GOT TV MINISERIES WRITTEN ALL OVER IT...:

Anatomy of a Cabinet coup: how Blairite ministers tried to remove Brown: The full story of last week's plot by a group of senior ministers to remove Gordon Brown from Downing Street can be told for the first time. (Patrick Hennessy and Melissa Kite, 06 Jun 2009, Daily Telegraph)

The background to the plot began less than two years ago, when Mr Brown he took over from Tony Blair. He offered Government jobs to a number of leading supporters of the former prime minister in a bid to heal the damaging divisions of the old TB-GB wars that had scarred Mr Blair's premiership. Many of those who accepted – including James Purnell, David Miliband, Hazel Blears, John Denham and Caroline Flint – did so despite their profound doubts over Mr Brown's suitability as Prime Minister.

As time went on – and Mr Brown's time at Number 10 lurched from crisis to crisis – those doubts grew. Last summer Mr Miliband had the chance to strike against Mr Brown after writing a provocative newspaper article, but failed to so.

As the months passed and Labour plummeted still further in the polls the grumbling went on. Whenever members of this loose grouping, which also included other ministers and former ministers, met there was rarely any other subject under discussion than Mr Brown and his failings.

Last week, with key county council and European elections looming and the Telegraph's investigation into MPs' expenses still setting nerves jangling at Westminster, Mr Brown's Cabinet opponents realised they had reached their "now or never" moment.

They knew the Prime Minister would seek to reassert his battered authority with a Cabinet reshuffle in which he wished to remove Alistair Darling from the Treasury and replace him with his protégé Ed Balls, the Children's Secretary, a figure of intense suspicion among Blairites.

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 6, 2009 5:14 PM
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