Peter Hoskin

Brown’s last chance (or maybe not)

Brown's last chance (or maybe not)
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According to Steve Richards today, Labour figures have given Brown until this autumn to improve the party's position or they'll ditch him. Hm. Hasn't Brown been threatened with these kinds of utlimatums before? Oh yes:

The Sunday Telegraph, 20 April, 2008

"The Prime Minister, who is battling a growing rebellion over his abolition of the 10p tax rate, has been given until the end of the summer to turn things round by backbenchers angry at a string of image and policy failures." (here)

The Telegraph, 24 May, 2008

"It is that Mr Brown be given until the end of July to prove himself and restore morale. If by then things have not improved, ministers, MPs and influential figures in the unions believe the only solution may be to send a delegation of his closest political friends – perhaps including Ed Balls, the Education Secretary, and Douglas Alexander, the International Development Secretary – to urge him to go." (here)

The Independent, 20 August, 2000

"Even some of his cabinet critics appear ready to accept that Mr Brown should be allowed a final opportunity to revive his fortunes by unveiling an economic plan next month to help people struggling to cope with rising fuel, food and housing costs in the downturn. But they intend to force him out if his fightback flops and he fails to rally Labour at its Manchester conference." (here)

The Telegraph, 21 September, 2008

"Gordon Brown has been given until next June by senior Cabinet ministers to prove himself capable of saving Labour from a general election meltdown or face being unseated." (here)

Daily Mail, 28 August, 2008

"Gordon Brown is to be given until November to save his premiership as Cabinet ministers offer him 'one last chance' to improve Labour's fortunes, it has emerged" (here)

And that's just a smattering of those "last chances" reported in the press. 

The longer this goes on, the more it seems like Labour are just congenitally incapable of killing off the Dear Leader.  But, as Paul Waugh notes, the final sentence of Richards' article does hint at another end: that Brown may give up of his own accord, if he fails to turn things around.  I can't see it happening myself, but I guess weirder things have happened.  Or maybe not.