What could the row mean for his future in the job?
The issue that’s dominating the UK political news this Easter is the threatened revolt by Labour MPs, including ministers, over the the Embryo bill that would allow the creation of part-human, part-animal embryos for research.
According to the Observer three Cabinet minsters – Ruth Kelly, Des Browne and Paul Murphy – are “struggling to accept” parts of the bill’s provisions while there are some reports suggesting that upto twelve minster could be forced to resign.
The Observer says it has become “….a direct challenge to the Prime Minister’s authority. Brown now faces a choice between surrendering to demands for a free vote, which could see the bill defeated, or risking ministerial resignations on conscience grounds.”
At a time when the party’s poll ratings are at a twenty year low such a split could have a major impact both on Labour and Brown’s future. On the other hand going back on his decision to make this a whipped vote would be a hard pill to swallow.
It’s been interesting that in recent weeks David Cameron has spotted Gord’s vulnerability and pressed him twice on the free vote issue at PMQs – forcing responses that will make it even harder for the PM to back-track.
It appears that while Gordon might take a long time to make decisions and might appear a “ditherer” that when he has made his mind up he is very difficult to shift. But does he want a revolt on the scale being suggested? Surely he should have seen this coming and not let himself get put into an impossible position?