Could he move to Number 10 AND keep his peerage?
For months now it has been blindingly obvious to me, at least, that the Labour party would fare better if the business secretary with a whole string of other titles, Lord Mandelson, became Brown’s successor.
He’s light years ahead of the internal competition in terms of his sheer political abilities and communication skills that with him in charge then his party would do better whatever side of the general election such a change was made.
The “little matter” of him being a peer therefore ruling himself out of being an MP was always just a minor obstacle for this very ambitious man. I’ve backed this view up with bet after bet and, indeed, if PM was PM on December 31st 2009 a 200/1 punt comes in.
So what are we to make of today’s story by Nicholas Watt, chief political correspondent of the Guardian about a plan by Speaker Bercow to allow ministers like Mandy to have their own question times with MPs?
Watt writes: “…As a first step, Bercow is aiming to change the rules to allow Mandelson, the business secretary, and Lord Adonis, the transport secretary, to answer questions in the mini-Commons chamber attached to the medieval Westminster Hall. This is currently used by MPs for adjournment debates in the morning.
The Speaker is hoping that the parliamentary authorities, which are wary of bringing Commons and Lords closer together, will allow the two ministers to appear at the bar of the house if the Westminster Hall sessions work..”
In a party that is apparently so devoid of leadership talent then this minor adjustment by Bercow could completely open up the race – and that, dare I say it – is very dangerous for Mr. Brown. For the most compelling argument you hear over the PM’s future is that the alternatives are not up to it.
I was at the Labour conference a fortnight ago in Brighton just after Mandy’s speech and the whole place was buzzing. His platform performance was much more than just as another cabinet member – it appeared to be a bid for the top job and how the delegates loved it.