How likely is Simon Carr’s Brown exit scenario?

How likely is Simon Carr’s Brown exit scenario?

    “Jack Straw becomes PM and calls an immediate election!!!”

However much Number 10 might not like it the speculation about the future of the Labour government and Gordon Brown continues unabated. It’s hard to talk to anybody involved in politics without the conversation turning to this.

This morning the Indy’s sketch writer, Simon Carr, posted an interesting piece on the paper’s Open House blog based on what some “special advisors” are said to be kicking “kicking around”. This would see Brown being ousted by a cabinet cabal and Jack Straw being installed in his place.

As soon as he gets to Number 10, Carr goes on, the justice secretary calls an election knowing that he will lose but the big hope for Labour is that this will transfer all the problems of the economy and the recession onto the incoming Tory government. Labour then get back the time after next.

Carr goes on: “..How does it come about? The central, shadowy player is Jack Straw. He makes a proposition to the young contenders for the top job. ‘Let me be the caretaker leader. I will lead the party into the election. I will take onto myself all the poison of defeat. Immediately afterwards, we will have a full-scale internal election for leader in the normal democratic way and the winner will start off untainted by defeat.’

Who does the actual knife work? Geoff Hoon, the chief whip takes the bad news into Gordon Brown. He is rewarded with the Foreign Office (oh, the triumphant return).

What’s in it for Jack Straw himself? Even if his tenure is a mere three months, he will always be “the former prime minister”. That has certain financial and status benefits that last the rest of his life, and is the only successful end to a cabinet career. He’s also the one who saves the
party from oblivion. “

Whether having Straw installed and calling an immediate general election would obviate the need for a Labour leadership battle is open to question. Also it’s probably being over-optimistic to assume that the Tories would be booted out after one term.

But the big question mark over the idea is what happens if Brown simply ignores or refuses even to discuss the matter when Hoon put its to him. Possession, as they say, is 90% of the law. Is there the stomach in the party to force it to a head?

I’m not convinced. This is all very interesting but it is just speculation.

Mike Smithson

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