James Forsyth

What are the chances of Labour dumping Brown?

What are the chances of Labour dumping Brown?
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Three MPs have announced they are standing down at the next election today; proof that the expenses scandal is getting more deadly for MPs as it goes on. But, in the background, the conversation about whether Brown can survive what Anne McEloy has dubbed the Ides of June is getting louder.

Over at the always excellent Comment Central, Daniel Finkelstein and Philip Collins try and work out what the percentage chances of Brown being removed are. Danny’s calculations lead him to conclude that there’s “only a 12% chance that [Brown] goes”.

I suspect, although this is based more on a hunch than mathematics, that the number is higher than this. I don’t think Alan Johnson would be on manoeuvres if he didn’t believe there was a decent chance of the situation becoming vacant. Also, remember that last time Brown’s position was in danger some wavering Labour MPs were deterred from moving against him by the fact that there didn’t appear to be a more palatable alternative to Brown. They feared having to choose between Harman, David Miliband and Balls in the leadership contest that would have followed. Now, they can rest assured that Harman won’t stand and that Miliband and Balls are in no position to. 

In the week beginning June 8th, Labour Cabinet Ministers and MPs will have to make a choice: stick with Brown or go for Johnson. I suspect that the likelihood of them deciding that the latter option is more likely to save their skins is significantly higher than 12 percent.

 

Written byJames Forsyth

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

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