Why my money would be on John Denham and Ruth Kelly
I hope that it does not appear too morbid to look at how the “next Prime Minister” market would pan out if something untoward happened to Gordon.
So we are talking about leading Labour figures – almost certainly members of the current cabinet. From the list above I would exclude all those who ran for the deputy leadership post in the summer. None of them really shone and the only one with leadership potential, Alan Johnson, probably hurt his chances by failing to clinch that election.
The eventual winner, Harriet Harman and the other ex-candidate on the list, Hilary Benn really don’t have the sparkle.
My long-shot would be Ruth Kelly at 43/1 who is fast establishing herself as the most effective communicator on the Labour front bench.
Amongst the others I’m not convinced by Jacky Smith; Jack Straw is probably too old and although David Miliband was highly tipped some months ago it is much harder to make your presence felt in the foreign secretary slot.
John Denham is my other fancy. In 2003 he resigned as a Home Office minster over Iraq and only returned to the government when Gordon Brown took over four years later. He’s strong, articulate and is one of the few Labour MPs to represent a seat in southern England with a comfortable majority.