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A double blow for Brown from the Indy

December 27th, 2007

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    Defeat threatened on terror limits and John Rentoul says “it’s all over”

On what must be the first “conventional” front page in a long time the Independent, the normally left-leaning paper, reports a ComRes survey of Labour MPs which suggests that the government is heading for a commons defeat if it presses ahead with plans to extend the limit on detention without trial to 42 days

The survey found at least 38 Labour MPs would rebel against – four more than are necessary to defeat the measure. The paper notes that: “Potential rebels include a string of former ministers and senior backbenchers that goes beyond the “usual suspects” of Labour refuseniks.”

Inside the paper, under the heading “We can dabble in parallel universes, but in the real one it’s all over for Gordon Brown” the political editor of the Independent on Sunday, John Rentoul, looks at prospect for the PM and questions whether a recovery is possible at all.

    As far as I can recall this is the first general election prediction by a major commentator in the mainstream media that Brown cannot win.

Rentoul, a Blair biographer and a long-standing critic of Brown, argues that the most damaging story before Christmas was the reported comment by Mervyn King, Governor of the Bank of England, that Brown and Alistair Darling were “unable to focus because morale throughout the government is so low”.

On the polls Rentoul refers to Andy Cooke’s guest slot here on Politicalbetting on Monday on one of “the myths that might comfort Brown’s demoralised troops: that the Government tends to recover in the opinion polls as an election approaches.” He suggests that even if there is a Brown recovery in the polls then the PM still faces “an impossible task”.

General election betting is here.

Mike Smithson






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