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And if Brown resigns for 'health reasons'?

I cannot see Brown willingly letting go of the brass ring, having finally got his greasy mitts on it, but should Straw and the other eminences grise of the party persuade him to do so, there is the potential for a fearfully long interregnum while the People's Party grinds into action. It does beg the question as to who would be running the show while Brown is locked away in a sanatorium?

Unlike Blair, Brown has foregone making the deputy leader of the Labour Party the deputy PM, although I imagine that Harman would be most keen to insist that she should become the PM pending a leadership election should Brown be pushed. Straw would probably present himself as a safe pair of hands, and if truth be told, he would be the sensible choice for that caretaker role. As with Beckett in '94 or whenever it was, both Straw and Harman would regard the stopgap role as a dress rehearsal for the real thing.

As has been noted elsewhere, the Tories do regicide rather better than Labour, but the Hague leadership rules would make the process of replacing a sitting Tory PM messy and drawn out too. While Brown could name a deputy PM - and there should be as clear cut a line of succession as there is in the US - I do not imagine that he will, as that would be an admission that he is indeed mortal.

So, perhaps I should be careful what I wish for, although if Straw were in charge one might at least expect a degree of competence.

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Blogger Nick Drew said... 1:47 pm

Hmm ... I'd say Straw is deeply unsuitable for high office, in the Vaz league  

Blogger Jonathan M. Scott said... 2:20 pm

Do you really mean 'Heath reasons'? I don't think Labour have anyone of the calibre of Maggie Thatcher (who followed Heath) - or any coherent ideology - for him to resign for Heath reasons; health reasons maybe.

Bliar played the health card already, though - Brown will have to see it through till the bitter end, unless his party ditches him.  

Blogger Croydonian said... 2:36 pm

Nick - but surely he would be less bad than Hattie? I think we would be risking incompetence on the scale of Edith Cresson. Or any number of French prime ministers, as plenty of the men at the Matignon have been useless / incompetent / drunk etc.

Jonathan - whoops. An 'l' has been added.  

Blogger John East said... 6:24 pm

I think having 350 labour MP's knives sticking out of your back should qualify as a "health reason", don't you?  

Anonymous sniper said... 6:26 pm

If he resigned as Leader the Harperson would be the Leader and would want to do the trip to Buck House (remember Beckett after Smith popped his cligs). If he resigned as PM but not as leade then there would be the mother of all ferret's in a sack as the loyal brthren and sistren came to an adult agreement as to who would go to Buck House. However, HMQ coul;d dissolve parliament and force an election (Labour would not be happy being leaderless). Or she could invite someone else (Dave?) to form a government. One of his first acts as aminority government could be to force a confidence vote in the current parliament and force a general election. Oh the pain, oh the tears.

Fun and frolics for all eh?  

Blogger Guthrum said... 6:54 am

The tell tale sign will be who Straw is sucking up to next when the denouement is days away.  

Anonymous verity said... 2:31 pm

What a great thread! John East, that was funny!

Far better that Harrying Harriet get the job because her bossy-boots, entitled manner will turn even Labour voters off in their millions (always assuming there are still a couple of million of the legally brain dead still voting Labour by then).  

Anonymous Verity said... 6:50 pm

I agree that Jack Straw is right down there with Vaz for unsuitability. That he has risen so far continues to baffle me.  

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