Has Kirsty just taken on Britian’s toughest job?

Has Kirsty just taken on Britian’s toughest job?

Times Online

Can the former student rebel turn it round for Gord?

Inevitability as we edge towards the final party conference season before the general election the Sundays are full of political stories relating to the coming battle.

Two of items are linked – but only indirectly. Simon Walters in the Mail on Sunday is reporting on the problems that Brown is having building up a team for the general election and notes three figures who played key roles in previous Labour campaigns have rejected personal pleas by to help Brown.

The second, in the Sunday Times, is about the tensions said to be in Number 10 following Brown’s appointment of 29 year old former student activist, Kirsty McNeill, as his adviser in charge of external affairs.

Isabel Oakeshott quotes a “No 10 insider” saying: “Kirsty has suddenly become one of the most powerful people in Downing Street and it has ruffled a lot of feathers. She is one of the few people who still thinks Gordon is wonderful and tells him what he wants to hear. She has huge influence now.”

Certainly, if the polls stay as they are, it’s going to be very challenging attracting people to work in such roles for the next few months. Who wants to be associated with what could be a disaster of historic proportions for Labour? On the other hand expectations are so low that any progress could be seen as a great success.

Meanwhile, in another Mail on Sunday report, the pressure is building on the home secretary, Alan Johnson, to make his leadership ambitions clear. He’s still the solid favourite to succeed Brown with Ladbrokes (6/4), Victor Chandler (11/10), and PaddyPower (11/8).

A lot could depend on the speech that Kirsty writes for Brown’s Labour conference appearance in Brighton.

Mike Smithson

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