Has Hazel’s news been timed for PMQs?

Has Hazel’s news been timed for PMQs?


Are we seeing a co-ordinated attack on Brown’s leadership

The news this morning, barely an hour and half before PMQs is due to start, that Hazel Blears is resigning looks like it’s part of a plan to undermine Brown just before he takes part in what could be his most critical session.

For with the growing noise about Mr Brown’s leadership it could just be possible that today will be the last occasion on which he takes PMQs. Next Wednesday there might be another face will be facing David Cameron across the floor of the house.

Brown has tried to look resolved and firm but how he performs in today’s half hour session might help or indeed impede his survival plan. The Blears resignation, which was widely forecast, will make Brown’s task that bit harder as he tried to put on a performance that will calm down the growing army of doubters.

It was suggested yesterday that Hazel might have been behind the “outing” of Jacqui Smith’s move. All this adds to an atmosphere of chaos surrounding the party.

So perhaps the most important thing to watch at this lunchtime’s PMQs will not be the normal clashes with the leader of the opposition but the reaction Brown gets from his own MPs. Will they be cheering him all the way or could they be much more muted. No doubt the PMs close ally, chief whip, and namesake, Nick Brown, will be doing his best to organise the troops but his task will not be easy.

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Mike Smithson

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