Brown ‘unlikely’ to lead Labour at next election
A former Cabinet Minister tells me it is “exceptionally unlikely” that Gordon Brown will lead the Labour Party into the next election.
Labour rebels acknowledge that some support for the project has gone but claim some new blood is coming in, in particular from the soft left.
The argument runs that the “opportunity cost” of removing Gordon Brown reduces the closer Labour MPs get to the General Election – the May 2010 date with the electorate would be unarguable and there would be no need for an earlier election.
The former minister acknowledges that the possibility of a contested leadership election reduces the closer to polling day you are – part of the June attempted putsch was based on a streamlined contest timetable.
So Alan Johnson’s name would be firmly in the frame. True believers in the project point to Bob Hawke, who took over the Australian Labour Party the same day the 1983 general election was called, and won.
The problem is no one is promising victory and no candidate is straining to grab the conch. Alan Johnson’s “I’m not fit to tie Gordon’s shoelaces” routine last month would likely be repeated.
The rebels’ credibility took a king-size knock in June when the numbers couldn’t be mustered. You have to think the odds are still strongly stacked against a successful coup but folk have not given up and it looks like there will be at least one more attempt on Gordon Brown’s political life before the year is out.