Is getting the leader out easier than was thought?
Writing the piece this morning has really focussed my attention on the chances that Brown could be out this year. The process, as set out in the previous post, is a lot easier than first appeared and crucially does not, in the initial stage, involve the input of Labour MPs.
The parliamentary party, as Nick Palmer MP keeps on reminding us, is not of a mind that it wants change. But its powers in relation to a new leader, that of making the nominations, only come into effect once the party conference has decided that there should be a contest and it is this where we should be looking for clues.
Quite simply Gordon’s future is in the hands of the trade union bosses who have a big influence over the big card votes – if enough of them think that there should be a new leader then Brown is in trouble.
What’s influencing me at the moment is the force of opinion that is coming from a number of contacts within the party. The PLP might be more reluctant about a challenge but many others are pushing hard for something to happen at the Manchester conference at the end of September.
What’s coming over is their firm belief that the Tories could be vulnerable if someone like Miliband was in the hot seat. I agree with them on that to a point. A new leader would almost certainly see Labour ratings rise.
William Hill has 5/4 on a 2008 departure while PaddyPower is offering what seems a really attractive 7/4. The latter seems good value.