Grim reading for Gordon today – is the endgame finally approaching?
The newspapers are dominated by moves to unseat the Prime Minister – with the battle lines for the succession being drawn up between Jack Straw’s “Lancashire Mafia” and the Miliband/Burnham/Purnell “Primrose Hill Pact”.
The Independent reports that Andy Burnham and James Purnell, in echoes of the Granita deal, will give David Miliband a free run for the leadership in the event of a contest, allowing him to emerge as the clear Blairite challenger. The article continues: “It is almost certain that in September, unless there is a dramatic improvement in Labour’s position, Mr Brown will face a public challenge or be told to go quietly by men in grey suits.” John Rentoul says that it is “when, not if” for the PM now.
Meanwhile, the Sunday Times concentrates on the efforts to elevate Jack Straw to the leadership, with reports that the left are coalescing around him, and that a â€œLancashire mafiaâ€ “have met colleagues in the Commons tea room to ask if they would support him as a â€œsave the partyâ€ leader. They have also been calling colleagues to prepare the ground for a possible autumn coup.” The paper also reports George Howarth as collecting names for Straw: â€œ[Howarth] said Jack was ready to tell Gordon the game was up, if there was enough support.â€
Straw meanwhile has said that he is “absolutely convinced” that Brown remains the right man to lead Labour. There’s further bad news for Labour in the shape of a CrosbyTextor poll showing a 24-point lead for the Tories in marginals, while the Observer editorial calls on the PM to reflect on his future and Andrew Rawnsley says that the “earth has moved” under the PM in the wake of Glasgow East.
The end of Obama’s whirlwind foreign tour with his visit to London, and its juxtaposition to UK domestic politics, has also been highlighted, with the candidate noting that “you’re always more popular before you’re actually in charge of things – once you’re responsible, you’re going to make some people unhappy.” Reports on the visit from the Independent, Sunday Times, and Sunday Telegraph, including the news of Cameron’s gift to Obama of a box of CDs by the Tory leader’s favourite UK artists.