Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Emergency overflow



In the excitement, pb1 seems to be on air only intermittently. I've therefore reposted the main thread here so that refugees from pb1 can make their contributions:

How serious is the Hewitt/Hoon move?

News is just breaking that the former chief whip, Geoff Hoon along with the former cabinet minister, Patricia Hewitt, have sent a message to all Labour MPs calling for a secret ballot to resolve the leadership issue once and for all.

The fact that Hoon is a former chief whip gives this an added credence.

Is there real momentum behind this?

Developing.

111 comments:

Bono Publico said...

Judging by the rapid response of the Brownites, this is both a serious attack and expected.

Anonymous said...

Very serious. The betting has moved considerably.
LTP on Cameron/Bown to contest next GE was 1.44.
A few days ago I took 1.29 and Layed 1.20.

URW

Me said...

"(...)Interestingly, this has taken many backbenchers by surprise. One persistent rebel (who I trust) was telling me only this morning that he was unaware of any new co-ordinated plotting, to his disappointment."


http://blogs.ft.com/westminster/2010/01/new-challenge-to-gordon-brown-from-hewitt-and-hoon/

Slackbladder said...

Well I must say I am suprised to be honest. I thought it would be too late for a leadership bid.

Although at the moment it does seem a 'ditch Brown' bid without a real alternative, very very damaging for labour I would have though.

The real question is, can labour really afford a leadership battle (as opposed to an orchestrated bloodless coup).

Sean Thomas said...

Incredibly painful timing for Labour. Even if they succeed now, they will look totally divided.

I don't understand this. They were just edging back in the polls. A hung parliament was not inconceivable.

Now there will be messy and calamitous infighting, no matter who wins. And all in the middle of a terrible recession and the worst winter in 50 years.

The voters will not be impressed. Incredibly stupid.

Simon said...

Why are Labour MPs scared of the concept of a secret ballot?

What does that say about their view of democracy?

This ain't over yet

Alastair said...

URW - also, the Gordon Brown leader exit dates have moved sharply.

antifrank

Richard Nabavi said...

They are mad, quite mad.

Clearly this is serious - but I'm extremely sceptical that it will work.

Alastair said...

The BBC website is having "technical difficulties". Is this the 21st century equivalent of the race for the radio transmitter?

Alastair said...

Richard Nabavi, they are either mad or double agents. To allow themselves to be quoted in the Times using the Tories' new slogan and to state in writing that "the parliamentary Labour party is deeply divided over the question of the leadership", they seem determined to reach the worst possible outcome for the Labour party.

SthLondon Nick said...

What is the upside for Labour here? If Brown stays then you have a wounded leader stumbling on, especially when his confidence has come back (he did well at PMQs today). If he goes then there is a leadership change. Install a new leader and you annoy the grass-roots. Have a leadership campaign and people get annoyed because they are talking to themselves whilst it leaves the field clear for Cameron & Clegg to go for it in policy terms with no effective government counter-attack.

Simon said...

Even if it fails, the damage will linger for a very long time

Oh dear, what a shame, never mind!

One other thing...

if there were a ballot and it was a 50-50 result - Brown could hardly claim a mandate

He would have to win and win big to survive

GizmoDuck said...

I don't think this is an important news story. Let's talk about Dave's airbrushed photo instead.

GizmoDuck said...

Hoon on Sky News

Morris Dancer said...

Hahahaha.

Stupid. This could've and should've been done earlier. Success or failure will harm Labour. And if Harman or Balls becomes leader it may even be a step down from Brown.

On PMQs, I thought Brown was full of shit, but also confident and coherent. Be fun seeing whether that remains next week.

Simon said...

Hoon is very clear, calm and direct on SKY

unlike the ranting Geraldine (who is one of the worst MPs I have ever seen)

Slackbladder said...

gimzoduck=tim :)

Anonymous said...

Labourite on Sky now:

There is no debate, Gordon Brown is secure, the Americans have all run away.....

SthLondon Nick said...

Some details on Jowell:

http://waugh.standard.co.uk/2010/01/tessa-jowell-and-the-plot.html

Slackbladder said...

Hah..Hoon holding court just behind the cameras...

Delicous :)

EdP said...

Hewitt on R5. By all accounts she simply turned up at the studio. Brown must be $hitting himself, whilst Eddie Balls rubs his hands with glee and thinks of 'the precious' that he thinks is now within his grasp.

jsfl said...

Is this going to be the start of the Labour Party's implosion?

Me said...

"There are rumblings in Westminster that a Cabinet minister is preparing to join Hoon and Hewitt in calling for a secret ballot on Brown's leadership."

http://www.spectator.co.uk/coffeehouse/5686073/whos-the-cabinet-minister.thtml

Slackbladder said...

Really the cabinet should now knife Brown quickly and install a new single person with no contest. It would be the only way to do it.

Morris Dancer said...

Could the minister be Balls? He's a ****ing idiot, but unlike most Labour ministers he'd do it if he thought it'd work.

Morris Dancer said...

Slack, it'd have to be Harriet, unless she stood aside. Importantly, this would mean that I would win money :D

GizmoDuck said...

Any guesses for the next conservative poll lead?

Anonymous said...

Geraldine Smith has called Hoon and Hewitt "Stupid, Betrayers and Cowards"

Anyone got any popcorn.

I think Brown will try and pre-empt this and call a March election

TSE

jsfl said...

I imagine Gordon didn't expect headlines like this today (from the Daily Mail:

Labour's big guns in open revolt against Brown

Clearly the Blairites are intent on making sure the left does not survive....

SthLondon Nick said...

It's the "Two former Cabinet Minister" line that makes this so devastating compared with the rumours that have rumbled around. We now have the best part of 5 ex Sec of States having resigned or criticised Brown openly. This is just bad news for Brown carrying on for anything more than a few months...

Neil B said...

Are they trying to force Brown into calling a February election?

Verulamius said...

Does this increase the chances of a Feb election?

Sean Thomas said...

It was Brown's class war crap that did this. That's what spooked Mandelson et al. They saw a chance of government slipping from Labour's grasp for 10-15 years.

Anonymous and dangerous said...

This could be the final nail in not only Brown's coffin but Labour's too.

It's all very well knifing him, but is Brown the sort to get ousted then sit quietly in the background?

jsfl said...

According to Coffee House Frank Field has backed the Hoon / Hewitt move (no surprise really).

Also some rumours about a Cabinet Minister about to back them...

Slackbladder said...

Eric Pickles sticking the knife in on Sky now.

Don said...

Look everybody calm down. This is a non event. The real story is Dave's airbrushing and marriage tax "gaffe". Now get back with the programme for goodness sake.

EdP said...

Is Mandelson due to give a speech this afternoon?

Verulamius said...

Snap

Anonymous said...

Eric Pickles - The whole country deserves a secret ballot. Call that election now.

The Screaming Eagles

Alastair said...

You can get 66/1 on a February election with BetFred, if you're so minded (I'm not).

GizmoDuck said...

Eric Pickles - They stole our slogan.

Richard Nabavi said...

jsfl - Not the start of the implosion, but the start of the fourth act of the drama. Act 1 began in 1996. Act 2 was all about Iraq. Act 3 started in 2007.

jsfl said...

Don,

Unfortunately it looks like the snow has short-circuited Brown thought control system and everything has gone haywire!

Where are the bots anyway - stuck in the snow?

mk said...

Oh my gosh - Geraldine Smith is a gift for the Conservatives.

Oracle said...

God is Geraldine Smith the best that Brownites can put up?

EdP said...

I see the BBC are having technical problems with their website today. How ironic.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/theeditors/2010/01/technical_problems_2.html

Slackbladder said...

The bots probably cant adjust their programming to post on pb2!

Morris Dancer said...

Haha, even Matthew I'msuchawally laughed derisively when Geraldine Smith claimed it'd be a fading story by the end of the day.

Oracle said...

BBC interviewer just laughed in Smith's face, when she said this is a fading story by the end of the day.

Sunil Prasannan said...

Hope the main site gets up and running soon!

Manged to get into work today but not staying for long.

Any way, I've got a "cool" name for the cold snap - The Curse of Copenhagen!

jsfl said...

Richard,

I agree that Labour's star has been fading for a very long time (IMO since 1994 and Blair's clause IV moment and Granita) but I am speculating as to whether this is when they go Supernova leaving only one enormous (financial) black hole as the disintegrate...


:-)

Anonymous said...

Makes Gibbon's blog post today about "Labour coming together" quite funny. I'm watching Mandy. If he doesn't come out and this rapidly dies down then it's over. If he doesn't and it rumbles on, we'll know where it stands...

swingvoter said...

If the 'coup' actually succeeds then they will push back the election to the last possible moment, summer. With 4 or 5 months whoever the successor is (the _big_ question) might have a chance to mitigate the damage.

Wouldn't write it off, but it really is the last possible opportunity.

Oracle said...

Ho ho ho, BBC News

#10, Gordo is GETTING ON WITH THE JOB

Jonathan said...

OMG!

Oracle said...

Is Jon Craig been seem on Sky yet? With his kind of news, he must be in danger of exploding with excitement.

SthLondon Nick said...

That was me about Gibbon. Loving Phil Williams on R5L doing the MPs. Taking apart all of them...

Oracle said...

Comic Timing,

http://iaindale.blogspot.com/2010/01/wheres-richie-cunningham-when-you-need.html

Tom said...

Seems to me that there are two possible outcomes from this:

1) Straw, Darling or Mandy resign this afternoon.

2) Hoon and Hewitt join the Conservative party.

Oracle said...

Tories wouldn't have Hoon if a HoC's majority depended on it.

jsfl said...

Oracle

According to Dale, Brown's 'job' is having a meeting with the Fonz.

Heeeeeyyy perhaps Fonzy can give him some sage advice?

If not perhaps Brown will next have a meeting with Fozzy Bear?

EdP said...

If Darling grows a pair and walks out this afternoon, that's it for Brown.

Rich said...

Tom - I think that the latter can be ruled out. Hewitt's apparently been a Labour member for 40 years, and anyway - would the Tories want her and Buff? Not exactly prize scalps...

Morris Dancer said...

Aye. If Darling grows Brown should be ****ed. Either that or he'll appoint Balls, and refuse to go and be immovable because there's no way Labour can axe him within the rules.

GizmoDuck said...

I think Gordo and the Fonz are going to have a shark jumping competition.
Heyyyyyy!

AndrewG said...

From Twitter:

"ITV News reporting that Hewitt MAY be acting on behalf of Harman."

Rich said...

This can only play badly for Labour with the voters who are struggling to work (if they still have jobs) in the 'worst winter for 30 years'. It can only be perceived as the worst kind of navel gazing.

MichaelK said...

How possible would it be for Brown to brazen this out, even if a currently serving cabinet heavyweight joins the call for a ballot?

If he convened a meeting of the PLP, says "Stop fight the Tories' battles, unite or die", would that fly?

How do those who know the Labour Party from the inside see this going?

jsfl said...

Hewitt is standing down (Hoon as well?) at the GE. There will be no defection I doubt.

Anonymous said...

I just love it. Toenails (I think)has just suggested that Gordo could just call a snap election now. Fat chance.

Blue rog

peter sadler said...

Who is running the country when they are navel gazing like this?

Then again, probably better off with them doing that!

Marquee Mark said...

I want to hear from Harriet, the Milibands, Johnson - and Straw and Darling for good measure. If any one of them doesn't support Brown, then he is gone. And I suspect that none of them wants to be the first to support Gordon and find the others then resign from the Cabinet! And the longer their silence goes on, the faster the merry-go-round spins.

Delicious...

Anonymous and dangerous said...

Question for those with long memories - how long did it take the Major/Callaghan administrations to fall into civil war?

Slackbladder said...

What it now depends on is if they can build a bandwagon. Without the support of cabinet members, Brown can still just tough it out.

Mike Smithson said...

THE MAIN SITE IS NOW UP

Oracle said...

Cameron has to be one of the luckiest politicians going.

He gets beaten by Gordo at PMQ's, and within seconds Gordo gets stabbed in the back and all the news is about ferrets in a PLP sack.

Oracle said...

Mike main site still not working for me.

jsfl said...

MichaelK:

I'm not a member of the Labour Party but this looks like the sort of typical harrying tactics that resistance movements use. Throw a few bobmbs and the retreat into the background again.

Basically, much as Brown tries he's never going to get rid of them or keep them quiet. Every now and then they will keep popping up.

The key question is how long will the left sit back and let the Blairites undermine Brown and the party before they decide Brown is no longer a viable leader?

Can the left of the party afford to hang it out until May / June or will they unite with the Blairites to rid Labour of Brown.

Slackbladder said...

Still down here Mike.

Rich said...

A case of who blinks first, either way, as was the case in June. If Milliband makes a positive statement then it's unlikely that Johnson, Harman, Darling, etc would come out against Jonah, and vice-versa. As Peter said, while they're tearing pieces out of each otehr they're not leading or governing, which has certain attractions.

Marquee Mark said...

Brown may tough it out - but mortally wounded.

How could Labour do this to the Statesman of the Year and the Saviour of the World Financial System? The rest of them are just pygmies. Brown is a Collosus compared to...

Bzzzzt.

Sorry, seem to have gone into Riche Rich mode there!

Anonymous said...

It's still down for me Mike

TSE

Verulamius said...

Well the last time I went to the opera, who did I see together, why Pattie and Hattie. So they are clearly friends.

Anonymous said...

Mike Smithson said...
THE MAIN SITE IS NOW UP

6 January 2010 13:58

No it's not

Blue rog

Sean Thomas said...

Main site of the "best political website in Britain" still not working for me, either, on the most interesting day in British politics in weeks.

Tsk.

I love you guys, but some game sharpening is needed.

Rich said...

From the Guardian blog and a Lab MP who's come from the tea room:

"I don't think this is going anywhere. I would be surprised if it last beyond tonight, frankly. I've been in the tea room and I did not detect much support for [Hoon and Hewitt]. Quite the opposite, really. Some people who you would have thought might be supportive, members who are standing down who have got nothing to lose, were quite hostile. I think they need 40 or 50 new names for this to really develop momentum. And they will only have a chance of succeeding if they get members of the cabinet involved. But with Peter Mandelson coming back on board today and supporting Gordon, I don't see that happening. This is a last throw of the dice by people who have never been reconciled to Brown's leadership."

Could all be the usual ultra-loyal smoke and mirrors of course...

Oracle said...

As a footnote, on this day of all days - how ironic is this? Sion Simon is the last man standing at the despatch box in a near empty chamber as the PLP scrambles to cope with the Hoon/Hewitt bombshell. Simon is now a minister, a reward for his role in the anti-Blair plot a couple of years back...

Marquee Mark said...

Mike, I can get up the main page of pb.com, but get thrown out when try to enter the comments.

jsfl said...

Sites down again

Oracle said...

Hanging Baskets is on BBC News defending Gordo.

MichaelK said...

Oracle: "Sion Simon is the last man standing at the despatch box in a near empty chamber"

Would make a great cover photo for a book about this - if the coup actually succeeds.

Main site not working for me either.

Anonymous said...

http://www2.politicalbetting.com/ is down but http://politicalbetting.com is up

Sean Thomas said...

This will fizzle out by tomorrow unless a Cabinet Minister resigns.

But the damage has been done. H&H have done incalculable damage to Labour just as they could argue they had a slim but fighting chance once again.

How can Brown claim he is right man for five more years as PM, when is openly loathed and derided by much of his own party?

Cameron is indeed a lucky general.

jsfl said...

Politics Website is keeping count of rebels

http://www.politics.co.uk/feature/legal-and-constitutional/labour-rebels-in-full-$1351609.htm

4 so far

Hoon, Hewitt, Clarke, and Field

Watch that space

Oracle said...

Here comes one of the usual suspects, Bazza Sheerman to stick the boot in.

Accuses Hanging Baskets of being "wheeled out"....Sopel doesn't like it, but then he wouldn't would he.

Marquee Mark said...

4 is not enough. Not even Purnell? Hazel Chipmunk?

Burnham has stayed loyal to Brown.

Oracle said...

Oh god it really is ferrets in a sack.

Sheerman says can have a secret vote, Blunkett says the PLP rules says you can't.

Jonathan said...

Hoon-Hewitt clearly cannot be working alone on this. Stalking Horses for a bigger beast.

I will be surprised is this is all we're going to hear about this today.

Dan said...

This is going nowhere unless a Cabinet Minister grows a pair...

Oracle said...

God Jon Sopel is showing his Red Underpants big time.

Richard Nabavi said...

Unless there is a cabinet-level plotter (such as Harriet), then it seems likely that the key other players - various Milibands, Johnson, Darling - will take their cue from Mandy. Everything hinges on a gesture from him.

jsfl said...

Oracle

Please not before the 10 O'CLock watershed. The imagery is just too grotesque

Mike Smithson said...

NEW THREAD on both the main site and here on PB2

Jonathan said...

"Many more names to come" Sheerman

Oracle said...

Punch up BBC between Bazza and Sopel. Sopel doesn't sound much like an impartial interviewer.

Dan said...

Sopel is frothing!

Nick Palmer MP said...

Lynne Jones (Campaign Group and not a fan of Gordon) has come out strongly against the move, as has Martin Salter (very active backbencher, hard to categorise). But both are standing down themselves, as is Patricia (but not Geoff).

I think my post earlier got lost when the site went down. Briefly I've always thoght that if there was a coup it would be now. People wanted to see whether Labour's position would improve under Gordon, as it has to some extent, and if there was to be a new leader it's better to have it close to the election so (s)he doesn't have time to be ground down by Events.

I remain publicly non-committal, and if I express a preference it won't be done on here - I expect most of you will see why.

Anonymous said...

What is the point of a political crisis if the main pbc site is down ?

Anonymous said...

John Sopel is not quite as clever as he thinks he is.

[fr who can't get this blogger password thingy to work]

Anonymous said...

NPMP refuses to express a preference for the Prime Minster on a blog... I think that says everything.