What’ll be the impact of the resignation?
It’s quite hard to assess the impact of tonight’s resignation of defence minister Eric Joyce. Will this get buried in all the other political news that’s about or could it damage Mr. Brown who has become so associated with the Afghan strategy.
The challenge for Number 10 is that his reasons go to the heart of how the PM is presenting his case.
This is from Joyce’s letter: “…As you know, two Black Watch soldiers gave their lives during your visit. I do not think the public will accept for much longer that our losses can be justified by simply referring to the risk of greater terrorism on our streets. Nor do I think we can continue with the present level of uncertainty about the future of our deployment in Afghanistan…”
The problem for ministers is that increasingly the polls are showing a decline in support for the UK presence in the country and increasing calls for the country to pull out. That’s the context for the resignation.
Will it be damaging? Well at the very minimum it provides the Tories with another stick to beat Brown with.