How can the rebellion progress without a cabinet minister?
It seems to have been going on much longer but it is less than a week since Siobhain McDonagh (above) decided to put her job on the line in order to make Brown’s leadership an issue in the countdown to the Labour conference in Manchester in a week’s time.
Since then others have followed while Labour’s NEC and the cabinet have come together to defend the leader that 313 MPs felt only last year should be given the job without a fight.
Is a likely short-term out-come that there will be a further dribble of rebels but Brown and his coterie will return to Westminster next month a little bit tarnished but with the main team still intact?
The long-standing Brown-critic, Frank Field, has talked of their being “no VCs for bravery” for members of the present cabinet but the fact is that as long as they remain loyal the PM must be safe.
And just looking down the cabinet list it is hard to identify potential rebels. These are men and women, after all, who have hitched their political careers to the Brown machine and not a single one has so far felt it necessary to jump.
Things could change rapidly but a cabinet resignation is surely the one thing that the rebels badly need. Without it they will just be hung out to dry.
A lot depends on the mood at next week’s Manchester conference but my guess is that unity will be the the theme and that Gord will get the longest standing ovation ever seen at a Labour gathering. As I suggested a few days ago it will be longer, even, than the toe-curling eight minutes that we had to endure five years ago when IDS was under pressure at the Tory conference.
Gordon being damaged but remaining is probably the best outcome for Cameron. The latter is going to have a lot of fun at the next PMQs.