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Is Charles Clarke still trying to kill the Brown bid?

March 29th, 2007

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    The ex-home secretary and Miliband step up the rhetoric

Just when the Labour succession seemed to be all settled there’s another big move from the one of the chancellor’s most long-standing party opponents – the ex-home secretary, Charles Clarke.

In a speech to the Royal Television Society Clarke, according to the Indy report, rejected ideas that there is “”broad consensus” across the party about the leadership succession. “The leadership is not a done deal to be sorted out within our party and then delivered to a grateful nation in a gleaming package. A genuine and open political contest may well be necessary”.

In a reference to the weekend move by Brown to engage ex-Labour home secretary, Jack Straw, Clarke said attacked those who “publicly appointed their campaign managers and who prefer backroom conspiracy and plots to open discussion of the policy challenges we face”.

What Clarke appears to be trying to touch is, as the Guardian puts it, “the anger in some circles at the way in which Mr Brown has decided to appoint Jack Straw as his campaign manager before Mr Blair has announced his intention to retire, and that Mr Brown has now started to recruit junior ministers to his cause.”

    Perhaps Brown’s biggest flaw is his undisguised desire to get the job. He could be portrayed as being presumptive and at some stage that could be damaging. The British way is, for appearances sake at least, to appear reluctant to go for high office.

Meanwhile the Miliband mood music continues with a personal piece in the Daily Telegraph which seems to be playing a major part in promoting a challenge by the 41 year old Oxonian. Under the heading “I’m in tune with the ‘I can’ generation” the environment secretary tells us that “politics requires many virtues – organisation, ideas, resolution, luck”.

Perhaps it also requires knowledge of which newspapers are likely to be read most and have authority in your own party and here the Telegraph must be at the bottom of the list for Labour.

The Brown betting price remains at 0.23/1.

Mike Smithson






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