Peter Hoskin

A rebellion stirs

A rebellion stirs
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So, what does today hold in store for Gordon Brown?  Howabout another 10p tax rebellion marshalled, as always, by Frank Field?  A bunch of around 30 Labour rebels have prepared an amendment to the Finance Bill, by which the last Budget couldn't pass into law until everyone who lost out from the 10p tax fiasco has been fully compensated.  It should be debated today, and the rebels have the support of both the Tories and the Lib Dems.  In response, Labour whips have cancelled all foreign trips by ministers and MPs, and are feverishly trying to rally the troops.  

If the rebellion succeeds, then it will be hugely embarrassing for Brown - his beleagured premiership could well do without another Commons defeat.  But, even if the Government comes out on top today, this is still damaging enough for the Dear Leader.  At at time when he's trying to create a new "nice Labour cuts vs nasty Tory cuts" dividing line on public spending, voters are being reminded of perhaps his most obscene, self-serving and regressive act of fiscal sabotage.  Ahead of the summer recess, it could also be the reminder that some Labour MPs need to kickstart a fresh round of plotting.