What are the implications of Blair’s statement?
My first reaction to this afternoon’s statement is that it makes Gordon Brown’s task just a little bit harder. We are now in an eight or nine month countdown which, as I argued yesterday, makes it a little easier for other challengers to develop their campaigns and come into the race.
The critical question remains – will Gordon face a serious challenge when the vote comes?
Everything that likely contenders do in the next few months is going to be analysed for its effect on theirs and Brown’s chances.
For Gordon each new bit of economic news is either going to be seen as good or bad for him. We are going to get poll after poll testing likely names against each other in their ability to take on Cameron and these are going to make a big difference.
If Brown is level-pegging in these polls then he’s fine. If a candidate emerges who starts to build a significant lead then the Chancellor might be in trouble.
Labour desperately wants someone who can beat back the Cameron threat and will not be sentimental even if that means ditching Gordon.
My personal betting positions on Reid, Johnson, Hutton and Benn will remain. I’ve got a sneaking feeling that John Hutton might be a good outsider.
Latest Labour leader prices are here.