The leading political stories from today’s papers
Once again, a dismal set of stories for Downing Street, as the fin de siecle feel continues for the government, rather like 1995-7.
There’s another unhelpful intervention from Tony Blair, courtesy of the usual “well-placed sources”. Brown should consider standing down rather than face the humiliation of an election defeat, says the former PM, while the same article reports that Ruth Kelly is expected to quit in a Cabinet reshuffle expected this autumn.
Someone else who might be leaving the government sooner rather than later is health minister Ivan Lewis, after he admitted bombarding a young female aide with suggestive text messages. Meanwhile Frank Field has joined Conservatives such as Nicholas Soames in calling for a limit on the number of immigrants to the UK.
David Cameron outlines his tax plan for “hard-working Britons” in the Sunday Telegraph, while taunting Brown for being weak over Miliband – “if my foreign secretary behaved like that, Iâ€™d sack him”. Elsewhere, Unite boss Derek Simpson has launched an outspoken personal attack on Miliband, accusing him, in a stream of swearwords, of being ‘smug’ and ‘arrogant’, while there’s been another data loss – this time of details of prison staff.
In the Observer, Andrew Rawnsley argues that while Labour despairs of Brown, “there is no sign of a Brutus”:
“Paralysed between fear of the consequences of moving against him and despair about carrying on with him, the Labour party is imprisoned in the worst of all worlds. It is clear that it ought to make a collective decision either to back its leader or to sack him. It is also clear that it is currently incapable of doing either.”
The only silver lining for the government appears to be the avoidance of a rebellion over the fuel windfall tax as reported in the Independent, while in the same paper John Rentoul asks “if the PM is so useless, why is he still in No 10?”