Could the ex-LD leader be being courted by Gordon?
After a morning of denials, rumours, claim and counter-claims there is a suggestion that the person behind the Guardian story is the former leader, Paddy Ashdown, who was involved in the 1997 linkage between the Lib Dems and Labour.
According to the blog by the Daily Mail’s Ben Brogan “Westminster rumour has it that it came from a briefing by Lord Ashdown to Alan Rusbridger, the Guardian editor, which explains the “staff reporter” byline.”
There was also the statement that no “Lib Dem MPs” would be joining Brown which left open the question as to whether a peer might be in the offing.
Given that Ashdown is relatively independent and has time on his hands now his Bosnian role has come to an end this would seem to be entirely feasible. Will it happen? That’s hard to say but Ashdown did try awfully hard in the late 1990s to build a relationship between his party and Blair but found it difficult carrying his troops with him. Maybe this time he could make his own decision without having to worry too much about his party?
If it happened it would be a great coup for Brown.