Peter Hoskin

Good and bad tidings for Brown

Good and bad tidings for Brown
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So, this morning's Most Significant Intervention comes courtesy of Jon Cruddas, writing in the Sunday Mirror.  Although the Dagenham MP makes sure to criticise the Government over Royal Mail, and over its general "drift", the main message is that the party should stick with Brown:

"Everyone knows our Government is in trouble. Serious trouble. But to suggest that we’ll tackle those problems simply by chucking Gordon Brown overboard is madness.

We’re now less than a year away from the election. We have no more chances left. We either pull ourselves together, stake out what we stand for, or we will be gone.

If we don’t, the next Ministers to walk out of the Cabinet will find David Cameron and his friends walking in to replace them."

Why so significant?  Well, as James said a couple of days back, the anti-Brown rebels could do with people on the left of the party - people like Cruddas - to come out in support of their actions; to give the movement an all-Labour feel, and prevent it being caricatured as an "ultra-Blarite" plot.  Sure, Cruddas's intervention doesn't mean that someone else on the left won't speak out - but he remains one of the most prominent backbenchers, and Downing Street will be glad to have him, in this one respect, on their side.  And, given the Cruddas-Purnell axis that has been developing over the past few months, it's also more evidence that the latter genuinely isn't prepared to make a move on the leadership this time around.

But it's not all good news for Brown this morning - far from it.  There's talk of a "bitter rift" between Balls and Mandelson; a leaked email, written in January 2008, in which Mandy attacks the "insecure" and "angry" PM; an article by Caroline Flint, lamenting the "negative briefings" coming out of No.10; and coverage of the Dear Leader's equal-parts disgraceful and embarrassing performance in Normandy yesterday.

In the background to all this are the European elections results, due out later today.  Alastair Campbell argues persuasively that they won't ignite the same "political frenzy" that we saw on Friday; mainly because Labour coming fourth is already built into the equation.  But they'll still present our weakened Prime Minister with another tricky situation to deal with.  Cut no. 999, perhaps?