James Forsyth

Could Brown survive this effort to oust him, only to be forced out in the autumn?

Could Brown survive this effort to oust him, only to be forced out in the autumn?
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John Rentoul in The Independent on Sunday argues that Brown won’t be forced out this time but will be in the autumn.  Here’s the crux of his argument:

“When he faces his next convulsion, probably in the autumn, the timetable will look very different. Alan Johnson will be able to come in and promise an early general election – in the spring of next year; that is, roughly, when there has to be an election anyway and nobody has anything to lose. Then, the only calculation that matters is, as James Purnell put it in his resignation letter, whether Brown's "continued leadership makes a Conservative victory more not less likely", or, as Stephen Byers asked more bluntly: "Is Gordon Brown a winner or a loser?" We know what most Labour MPs privately think is the answer to that.”

This is a scenario that causes a certain amount of heartburn in Tory ranks. They worry that Johnson could draw much of the poison from Labour’s relationship with the electorate and make a show of unity by constructing the most impressive Cabinet possible. However set against that has to be the internal ructions in the Labour party that would follow a coup that removed Brown. Who knows how Brown’s praetorians might behave in those circumstances.

Written byJames Forsyth

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

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