James Forsyth

What to make of the Simpson intervention?

What to make of the Simpson intervention?
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"What did he mean by that?" is the question one is left with after reading Derek Simpson’s interview with the Mirror. Simpson tells the paper that New Labour is dead and that "if you could convince me there is somebody who could take over and go down the Old Labour route without hesitation I'd share the view that if Gordon is not prepared to do it he should stand aside and let that person do it. That could save the Labour government.”

This is, to put it mildly, rather off message and Unite have rushed out a statement this morning saying that Brown has Simpson’s “full support” and is the “only choice” to lead Labour into the election. But it doesn’t deny what Simpson said. Following on from Cruddas’s intervention earlier in the week, it does seem further evidence that the soft left is increasingly open to a change in leadership. The question is whether they have they left it too late.

It is also worth noting that Simpson backs Ed Miliband as a possible future leader. Ed Miliband is rapidly emerging as the lowest common denominator choice, he’s acceptable to pretty much all the wings of the party. But it is hard to imagine him standing against his brother in any leadership contest.