As the polls get worse the pressure for a challenge grows
Against a background of new polls from YouGov and ICM showing the impact of the 1997 pension row on Brown’s current standings (see previous story) there’s the above lead in the Sunday Telegraph stating that the Home Secretary is adding his weight to those urging David Miliband to challenge for the leadership when Tony steps down.
For a long period, of course, Reid himself was seen as a possible challenger to Brown and the two men have a history in Scottish politics that goes back nearly a quarter of a century.
Brown’s position will be helped today by the fact that the story is in the Sunday Telegraph – not the first choice of weekend reading for Labour’s rank and file! His aides will be able to present this as “something being got up by the Tory press”. If they are so opposed to Brown getting the job then that is because there are frightened of the threat he could pose.
Stories like this in the Labour-supporting Times, Guardian or Independent have to be taken a lot more seriously.
The Reid intervention, if true, certainly adds to the pressure on the 41 year old Oxford educated Miliband to put his hat into the ring when Tony makes his historic announcement expected after the May 3rd elections. Until now the young environment secretary has always said publicly that he has no such plan but has stopped short of ruling out a challenge under any circumstances.
In this feverish context, though, the polls are going to play a critical part. The more surveys showing Brown with poor numbers the easier it becomes for another person to enter the fray.