6 Jan 2010

Brown challenge: awaiting Darling, Harman and Straw

Where is Alistair Darling? He had a conversation with Gordon Brown straight after PMQs and is about to have a meeting with the prime minister in Downing Street.

As for other senior ministers, Jack Straw and Harriet Harman have been in the weekly meeting between the government and the backbenchers’ parliamentary committee.

It just broke up in the last few minutes after quite a lot of hostile remarks from backbench Labour MPs about the Hoon-Hewitt project.

Number 10 insists it is not expecting any big resignations, nor any ministerial minnows.

But Geoff Hoon is a seasoned operator. Would he really fire off just one shot without choreographing a second one?

Has someone pulled out of the second shot? Was it never properly agreed?

A Brown aide tells me we should be getting a statement soon from Jack Straw which is fully supportive of the prime minister.

The relevance of these three ministers I mention is that they have appeared in speculation that, over Christmas, they pondered whether to make a move on the PM.

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