James Forsyth

The plot’s gunpowder is extinguished

The plot's gunpowder is extinguished
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The atmosphere is flat in Westminster today. The plot finally fizzled out this morning but not before having highlighted how little support in the Cabinet Brown has. It was telling that it was Shaun Woodward, not anyone more high profile, who turned up on the Today Programme to defend the PM.

Plots that wound but do not kill Brown are perfect for the Tories. They make the voters see Labour as divided and add to the mood that it is time for a change. This one also had the benefit of being ideally timed from a Tory perspective, obscuring a week which had seen Cameron make a rare blunder.

YouGov’s latest poll does show the Tories on course for a majority, no small achievement considering the base they are starting from. But the lead isn’t enough to make any one on the Tory side complacent. If a new Labour leader had had any kind of bounce, Tory jitters about a hung parliament would have become more pronounced.