James Forsyth

Fear and loathing in Downing Street

Fear and loathing in Downing Street
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Toby Helm’s piece in the Telegraph on the mood in Downing Street is this morning's must read. Helm reports that it was the Brownite old guard who leaked Stephen Carter’s plan to bring back Tony Blair’s old speechwriter Phil Collins in an attempt to stop it from happening. 

It also seems that Brown’s paranoia has returned, Helm recounts that:

“The rustling of the Blairites has merely added to Mr Brown's unease. During a visit to Arsenal's Emirates Stadium this week with President Sarkozy, the Prime Minister was annoyed to see Jonathan Powell, Tony Blair's former chief of staff, with whom he never got on, appear through the crowd. Mr Powell had been invited by the Anglo-French Council.

"What is he doing here?" the PM appeared to growl. He was even more distracted from his duties as host to the president when the young pretender to Number 10, Miliband, arrived and greeted Mr Powell before the two went off for a private chat - more than enough evidence for any Brownite of a Blairite plot.” With Labour behind by double-digit in the polls and the economic situation set to get worse, it is hard to see how Brown gets back on track. But the man is nothing if not resilient and he has at least another 18 months to try and turn things round.

Written byJames Forsyth

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

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