Richards makes the additional point that "Smeargate" may encourage Brown's rivals to "stir":
One question currently doing the rounds is whether this will trigger a fresh bout of Labour leadership challenges. You'd imagine that the loose ceasefire which held the party together last autumn is now more strained than ever; particularly as recent events seem to confirm Brown as an electoral liability. Can those-who-would-be-leader put up with another year of the same? Will they throw caution to the wind, thinking that anything's better than this? Hm, I guess only time will tell. But, either way, the vultures are circling ever closer to our PM.“
"Some Blairites and cabinet ministers who carry wounds from what they believed were assaults from McBride will also stir, wondering once more how he was allowed the freedom to undermine the reputation of the entire government."