Dear oh dear, Mr Bean just can’t seem to catch a break, can he? Brown’s meeting with the Parliamentary Labour Party on Monday night, initially called to calm nerves over the Labour’s flatlining in the polls, apparently turned into open rebellion with several MPs genuinely furious over the Primie Minister’s answers during the Q&A session.
While the session opened with Brown urging MPs to “go out and tell voters that the Government 'is on your side”, the increase of taxation on lower paid workers and the closure of post offices – both legacies of Brown’s last Budget as Chancellor, in which he scrapped the lower 10p rate of tax – left MPs fuming.
One Minister was quoted as saying that "People were queuing up to complain to me about it – if Boris Johnson wins the mayoral election, it will be open warfare, like it was in the 1980s".
Boris is currently running ten points ahead of Red Ken, whose “private” distancing of himself from Labour was recently published to the media, furthering widespread speculation that Team Brown is coming apart at the seams.
Then just when things couldn’t look bleaker for Brown, who should step into his shoes at PMQs while the PM attends a NATO conference in Romania? Harriet bloody Harman. Fresh from the drubbing at the hands of the media over her stab-proof vest gaffe at the weekend, Harperson was given a masterclass in PMQ performance by shadow Foreign Secretary William Hague, who delighted in quoting Health Minister Ivan Lewis’ recent article, claiming that the Government have become out of touch with ordinary voters.
Brown needs a PR success sharpish, or the knives could be sharpened quicker than he anticipated. New policies are called for, new ideas, possibly new people – and it wouldn’t surprise this author if a reshuffle is brought forward to pacify potential troublemakers (what’s that nice Mr. Alan Johnson been doing lately?).
I know I’ve said it before, but what must Blair be thinking?