James Forsyth

Caught in the shuffle

Caught in the shuffle
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I rather suspect that Gordon Brown’s fate will be sealed by whether or not he can pull off a successful reshuffle. If he can bind the Cabinet to him, he is probably safe until at least Labour conference.

Over the weekend, the assumption was that Brown would reshuffle on Friday. The idea was to move before the potential triggers of the plot—Labour coming third or worse in the Euro elections, the BNP winning a seat in the European Parliament—had happened. It would be hard to see how someone who had taken a job on Friday, could credibly resign it on Sunday night and say that the man he accepted the job from 60 hours earlier must go for the good of the party. The rebels would have been beaten to the punch.

But as Steve Richards writes in The Independent today, there’s a problem with the Friday strategy: Brown is going to France for the D-Day commemorations on Saturday. If the reshuffle doesn’t work, the last place Brown wants to be is out of the country.

The great irony of all this is that Brown really should have told Sarkozy that the Queen—as head of state—should have been invited to this event with the French and American presidents before him. It does rather sum up Gordon Brown’s premiership that his short-term tactical maneuvering, in this case to get a photo-op with Obama on the world stage, has come back to bite him.

Written byJames Forsyth

James Forsyth is Political Editor of the Spectator. He is also a columnist in The Sun.

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