What a rebellion!

Mr Hoon and Mrs Hewitt are not being helpful to the PM. No sooner had we heard a more spirited Brown performance in Prime Minister’s Questions than the rumours and the media confirmation came that two senior Labour backbenchers want a secret ballot vote on whether Brown should stay or go on Monday! It was all the more surprising because after several weeks before Christmas when support for the PM in Questions was more muted and there were empty benches, today the party seemed stronger in its support.

Their political judgement is as weak as their understanding of the Labour party constitution. The Leader has to be elected by the whole party, which includes the activists and the Trade Unionists. Meanwhile, if there had been any doubt about the voices against Brown within the Labour party, they have now been confirmed by these two senior figures.

Before anyone makes an unfair jibe, I only challenged for the Leadership of the Conservative party when the incumbent PM resigned and said he wanted a contest. That was an entirely different situation. There was also two years to run before we needed an election. Mr Brown has made it cystal clear he does not wish to stand down and sees no need for a contest.

The Conservative party should thank the two senior figures for highlighting the leadership issue. I think we can also sleep easily in our beds tonight, because Mr Brown will survive this half hearted coup. That is the best possible outcome for the Opposition. The rebels neither have a candidate to replace Mr Brown, nor are they willing even to say they think he should go. Rum that. Without big numbers to back it, this is another coup that will vanish with a whimper.

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14 Comments

  1. oldrightie
    Posted January 6, 2010 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

    Whatever this is all about it is obvious that Brown is as unpopular and disliked by members of his own party as by the public. I hope Daviv Cameron is noting all this. Popularity is not something to court and unpopularity can still lead to victory if allied to honesty. Brown has little of that and Cameron is showing worrying signs of PR first, honesty last. Lisbon, marriage, taxation are but three examples of unclear direction or truth.

    • APL
      Posted January 7, 2010 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

      oldrightie: " and Cameron is showing worrying signs of PR first, honesty last. "

      He is an advertising executive, like Blair he thinks everything is just a matter of presentation.

  2. Ex Liverpool rioter
    Posted January 6, 2010 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

    Dislike BOTH of them, but can't fathom WHY they done this?

    Mike

  3. Mike Stallard
    Posted January 6, 2010 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

    "Gordon Brown must hope that, against all the odds, he and the Labour Party – who, like Leeds have been loved, hated, misrepresented, put their fans through agony and suffered woeful injustices – can similarly recover and produce the victory no one is predicting." This is not a rebellion at all. (I read it on Labour List.) Peter has come back to support Gordon. "There is always talk and behind the scenes maneuvering in politics, but if the rumours do come to anything – which I severely doubt – and a remaining cabinet minister has reserved the decision for this time specifically, you have to ask, why now?"
    Meanwhile the markets which own the gilts are wavering and, on Newsbight last night, Irwin Seltzer and the Deputy Editor of the financial Times were unsure about the future. The Government supporter who thought the gilts were quite safe was actually called "Dr Pangloss" by Jeremy Paxman.
    Talk about fiddling while Rome burns!

    • Graham De Roy
      Posted January 6, 2010 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

      There's one other analogy with Leeds – Labour is skint.

  4. AndrewSouthLondon
    Posted January 6, 2010 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

    Evening review of the papers on TV last night saw a blue-tie "Tory" -challenged by a Daily Express " headline linking arctic weather with no global warming, smiled sweetly and declared that "all scientists agree" about global warming, so no need to discuss it.

    I take it this Dave's position too. Its a barefaced falsehood, but rather than address the science, I believe its a very crafty escape route. He didn't say he believed the planet was warming as a result of human activity, merely that all scientists agreed it was.

    So as it all unravels and the phony consensus collapse, and the "scientists" are shown to be liars, bullies and fraudsters, its a simple matter to reverse out of the policy. We trusted the scientists, it seems they were wrong, there is no consensus, so we walk away. Safer than going into an election as a "denier".

    You know this makes anyone of integrity interested in the truth disgusted?

  5. Donna W
    Posted January 6, 2010 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

    Lord (Mandelson-ed) was sent back by EU President hopeful Blair and the EUSSR to ensure Gordon stayed in post at least until the Lisbon Treaty was ratified. He did that, but now Gordon is expendable. What a silly time for Gordon to ignore the 'noble Lord's' advice in favour of listening to his mini-me Balls.

    Lord (Mandelson-ed s) been off the scene for well over a month – since the Pre Budget Report to be exact. And he discretely let it be known that his absence was because he was 'disappointed' with the PBR and the class war/core vote strategy.

    A six-day trip to India doesn't explain his absence from the airwaves for so long. But what it DOES do is give him 'cover' so his sticky fingers are not connected with Hoon and Hewett's little plot.

    I would put money on that Mandelson is behind this. He didn't intend it to succeed, which is why no alternative PM is identified. I suggest it is just intended to remind Gordon that only he, Mandy, can keep Gordon in power until the election and paying undue attention to Balls and his pathetic core vote strategy is 'a mistake.'

  6. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted January 6, 2010 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

    JR: "Messrs Hoon and Hewitt…”

    Has Patricia Hewitt had a sex change?
    Whatever happens next you must be rubbing your hands with glee. If only Cameron would have the confidence to start and display coherent and strong leadership about how he would sort out the appalling economic mess that Brown has created.

  7. John
    Posted January 6, 2010 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

    The (people-ed) in the Labour Party are already jostling in the queue to replace Brown. I dislike both Hewitt and Hoon but at least they have conjured some guts to say what I suspect most people in Labour are muttering when Brown is out of earshot.

    But then Brown isn't exactly blame free is he? He ensured that he was crowned without any meaningful vote when Blair left and refused to be put to a vote of confidence in October.

    If Brown had any confidence in himself he'd call the plotters' bluff and demand a snap vote of confidence next week. But he won't do that as he knows he's set for an electoral rout and is clinging on to every day of power he can before he's forcibly evicted.

    Meanwhile while Politicians bicker and the MSM congratulates itself on it's analysis of the political nuances in Westminster, the rest of the country is considering the apparently unimportant issues of the recession, unemployment, the huge public deficit and the prospect of even further increases in tax.

  8. alan jutson
    Posted January 6, 2010 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

    The situation Dear Gordon finds himself in, is what you get when you are not elected, but assume and take power, and put pressure on others not to offer a challenge.

    Unlike a third world Dictatorship, Gordon does not have the Army on his side.

    Its a wonder he has lasted so long really given the circumstances. So credit to his single mindedness, but nothing else.

  9. Norman
    Posted January 6, 2010 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

    It certainly is difficult why they would have done this – no chance of replacing Mr Brown and there's even less chance of him standing down than of him admitting that any decision he has ever made has been anything other than the best possible option – one dreads to think of the position he imagines we'd be in without his singular economic talents over the last 12 years!

    Even if the reason is that they suspect Labour is heading for electoral meltdown and they can say afterwards 'We told you so' it hardly needs the abilities of Nostradamus to see Mr Brown is the most unpopular Prime Minister in living memory and action would have been far more effective on European election night.

  10. Mark
    Posted January 6, 2010 at 11:02 pm | Permalink

    As Arthur Conan Doyle reminds us, we need to look for the dog that doesn't bark. In the attempts to round up the usual suspects to announce their support, I notice Harriet Harman seems to have been particularly silent. Even the Lord of Hartlepool and Foy has said more than she. Primus inter pares?

  11. no one
    Posted January 6, 2010 at 11:17 pm | Permalink

    hewitt who screwed up the nhs, the nhs IT, the junior docs postings and so much more

    hewitt the BT director (allegation removed-ed)
    hewitt the BT director (in a company-ed) replac(ing UK employees-ed) with Indian nationals from Tech Mahindra

    sometimes I think people like this should still be stuck in the tower

  12. no one
    Posted January 7, 2010 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    you can remove my allegations but you should know im right 🙂

    happy new year

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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