Brown Must Go? Part 2

A new Northern Ireland Secretary could be one of the outcomes of the political turmoil, according to the Downing St vultures.

Shaun Woodward and John Denham were both seen going into Downing Street earlier, suggesting they could be in for a promotion

It takes me back to that stunning moment when Mandy quit a second time and John Reid rode to the rescue. It won’t be so easy this time. I still think there’s a comic side to the conventional wisdom that Brown is on the brink because ministers are resigning whom we’re well rid of. Its well clear though that Blear’s resignation boosts a back bench conspiracy to flush out Alan Johnson as a potential successor if they can get support for an email round robin.But without a window of opportunity in Labour’s byzantine rules for a leadership challenge, I reckon Brown will survive even a disastrous Euro election result. Labour loyalists are reacting angrily to the calculated damage of Blear’s timing. Never glad confident squirrel nutkin again. She had a point though when she vented her anger to Brown yesterday over his calling her house flipping “ completely unacceptable,” and then leaving her twisting in the wind.,neither backing her or sacking her. Toxic rumours in the old Damian McBride mode suggest more may come out about Blears’ expenses when the cabinet office compliance unit goes through her receipts. In PMQs, Remarkably,Brown held his own and kept his temper to win on points. Cameron was a dilemma as he didn’t want to press too hard and unite demoralised Labour backbenchers behind Brown. On the other hand, if he had been convinced that Brown was really cornered, Cameron would have gone for his throat anyway. Jacqui Smith has just given a notably loyal interview which may help staunch the haemorrhage. Another minister quitting today (like Blears’ mate Caroline flint) would seal Brown’s fate, so hopes the Times. So on to the European elections, the reshuffle and the next crisis

Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London