Is this the beginning of Gordon’s final days as PM?
The Sunday Times is reporting this evening that David Miliband is preparing to throw his hat into the ring in a leadership contest to â€œsave new Labourâ€, having told friends that he is prepared to stand if sufficient backbenchers turn against the PM.
The article continues: “…senior Labour insiders claim that at least half the cabinet have privately concluded that Brown cannot win the next general election..
Among the ministers said to be ready to desert Brown are Alan Johnson, the health secretary, Ruth Kelly, the transport secretary, James Purnell, the work and pensions secretary, Jacqui Smith, the home secretary, John Hutton, the business secretary, Hazel Blears, the communities secretary, Jack Straw, the justice secretary, and Tessa Jowell, the Olympics minister. In an alarming development for No 10, some insiders claim that Brown is also losing the support of Alistair Darling, the chancellor, regarded as one of his most loyal allies.
…Milibandâ€™s supporters hope that a delegation of cabinet ministers will persuade Brown to stand down voluntarily in the interests of the party. They believe that Straw, Johnson, Geoff Hoon, the chief whip, and John Denham, the higher education secretary, could play a key role because of the respect that they command among backbenchers.
…Purnell is also understood to be considering running, while Straw is believed by many MPs to be positioning himself, despite publicly denying the move.”
On the markets, “Cameron only” is now the 1.81 favourite on the party leaders at the next election market, while Miliband is the clear favourite with the “Magic Sign” on the next Labour leader market at 5/2.