David Blackburn

The man who would be shadow international development secretary

The man who would be shadow international development secretary
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Guido says that Gordon Brown wants to become shadow international development secretary.

This rumour is uncorroborated, as far as I can gather, and I’m sure it’s a joke. But I can believe that Brown might seek election to the post – he cares deeply about African development and loves the thrust of frontline politics, such is his self-regard. But, surely, the next Labour leader would do everything to block Brown’s return to high-profile politics. Both Milibands have stated that Labour lost in May because the public rejected the government’s personalities, which implies that Gordon was the major problem. Their analysis is absurd, but I concede that Labour’s renewal would by polluted by the spectre of Brown gurning at the dispatch box.

Brown or no Brown, international development is a problem area for Labour. Andrew Mitchell is one of the most adept members of the Cabinet, so talented he has secured a budget increase for his department amid ‘unprecedented cuts’. As his recent interview with Left Foot Forward proves, Mitchell has annexed for compassionate conservatism the language, metrics and territory of a department that New Labour created. How, and with whom, does Labour respond?