James Forsyth

More trouble lies in wait for the government

More trouble lies in wait for the government
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Labour lost the first week of the long election campaign. The Hoon and Hewitt plot and the late and tepid endorsements of Brown from key members of the Cabinet have highlighted the divisions within the Labour party. Hoon and Hewitt were right that stories about these decisions will not go away. They will run and run right up to polling day.

The weekend papers will also not be good for Labour. To compound Labour’s woes, it looks like the big political story of early next week will be Alastair Campbell’s testimony to the Iraq inquiry, which threatens to dredge up memories of spin and Iraq. It should be remembered, though, that Campbell is a formidable performer and could come out of this appearance far better than expected.

However, all these political stories could be crowded out by the weather. This is a no-win situation for the government. If everything goes smoothly, people are unlikely to give Brown credit. But if parts of the country run out of grit or gas, then the government will get the blame.