Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Silence is golden?

Cometh the hour, dither the man
Hoon & Hewitt have put the knife in and perhaps predictably, as the BBC reports 'Ministers are lining up behind Brown' in response. Anything less would be notable as Ministers are of course on the payroll vote and the LabourList site has now started producing responses from loyal backbenchers.
But there is one interesting exception, the Rt Hon John Denham MP .
Always happy to call himself a Blairite, Denham has been less happy of late, talking about "Southern Discomfort" and as my friend Iain Dale reported a while ago, their has been speculation about his loyalty before.
If he has any guts, for the good of his career and the good of his party, he ought to do it.
Urbane, almost good-looking, refreshingly normal (at least in Labour terms), he would appeal to moderate voters who had supported Blair in a way that only Brown could dream of. With a reasonable Ministerial career behind him, he (almost uniquely) also has a fairly clean pair of hands having been one of the few ministers who resigned as he could not vote with the government on plans to go to war with Iraq. Further, in months Labour faces likely defeat in a general election and in his late fifties, Denham's ministerial career will end with it. He may even be defeated in the seat of Southampton Itchen which he has represented since 1992 as he faces a strong challenge from my friend, the Deputy Leader of the Council Royston Smith. why not challenge and be damned- for what does he have to lose?
Cometh the hour, cometh the man, one might think. An inately cautious politician, I am sure Denham has been agonising all day and yet despite all the attractions of welding the knife, I think he will bottle it.
As one former Cabinet Minister reported to James Landale about those Cabinet Ministers who still hadn't come out in support of Brown, "they don't have the guts to support him, they don't have the guts to defend him".


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Denham has been very quiet. Maybe he is stranded on the A3 unable to reach a laptop and with no reception for his Blackberry.

John Denham where are you?

6:27 am  

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