James Forsyth

There’s no super-sub for Brown to call on

There's no super-sub for Brown to call on
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Martin Kettle reports in The Guardian today that:

“There is a lot of talk now about yet another shakeout at No 10. Lord Mandelson is pressing for a senior politician – not necessarily himself – to fill the righthand man role that Chris Patten played for John Major in 1992.”

This is understandable given that, as Jackie Ashley wrote yesterday:

“Brown seems to have performed the brilliant hat-trick of failing to grasp where his parliamentary party is coming from, failing to recognise what will provoke ridicule in the press and failing to acknowledge the public mood. Much of this comes back to the out-of-touch inner circle on which he has relied for so long.”

But all this raises the question of who Brown could bring back—there aren’t any other Mandelsons waiting in the wings. There’s also the issue of whether Brown’s praetorians would be prepared to work with this person or set about undermining them, as they did Stephen Carter.

To be sure, bringing John Reid in as a Patten-style figure would sharpen up Labour’s political instincts and provide someone who can make the case aggressively for the government. But all this is about damage limitation not changing the game. 

Written byJames Forsyth

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

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