Brown could quit soon to give Lib-Lab pact a chance
The Mole: As Tories get close to offering offer Lib Dems a deal on PR, Labour could play its trump card...
Noises from Downing Street suggest that Gordon Brown could announce within 24 hours that he is prepared to step down for the good of the nation.
"Brown is going in order to facilitate more talks with the Liberal Democrats," one of the Mole's sources says. Or as another put it, the word from the bunker is that the pet dog has been put down, and Brown won't be far behind it, politically speaking of course*.
Brown's departure to make way for a caretaker leader - Harriet Harman, Labour's deputy leader, is keen to assert her authority in the role - would certainly upset David Cameron's applecart.
Cameron and his lieutenants such as Michael Gove are inching towards a deal with Nick Clegg, the Lib Dem leader, on proportional representation (PR). It may sound astonishing, given all that Cameron has said against PR during the election campaign, but the Lib Dems need to be persuaded that this is their historic chance to change the electoral system forever.
You may think the Mole has gone mad even suggesting such a thing. But if you don't believe me, here's the 'Torygraph' scribe Ben Brogan writing today: "He [Cameron] wants to bind them in to the hard decisions ahead. To that end he is prepared to go much further than his party perhaps realises... He could eventually offer the Lib Dems a form of electoral reform based on the additional vote system (AV) or even the AV-plus devised by the Lib Dem peer Lord Jenkins - and rejected by Blair - more than a decade ago."
Both systems maintain the constituency link that the Tories insist is essential. Brogan has an ingenious reason why the Tories might be prepared to stomach a system that most people think would destroy their chances of governing Britain outright - it would kill off the UK Independence Party vote which cost the Tories an estimated 21 seats last week. Brogan reckons even the far right of the Tory party have "spotted this opportunity".
It may be too subtle for the dumbo backbenchers who make up most of the Tory party in Parliament and it could therefore prove difficult for Cameron to sell it to his own backbenchers whom he was due to meet at 6pm tonight.
But if Brown suddenly goes, that will change everything. Clegg will surely have to talk again to Labour, with whom most Lib Dems would feel far more ideologically comfortable doing business, as long as Brown is out of the picture.
And, dear reader, don't worry about Harriet - she would not be in charge for ever. Just long enough for a full-scale leadership election to be organised, with the most likely contenders being Ed Balls from the Brownite faction and David Miliband from the Blairite wing.
*EDITOR'S NOTE: The Mole can be a little abstract when referring to other furry animals... He is referring to Hitler's beloved German Shepherd, Blondi, who, as fans of ‘Downfall’ will know, died when Hitler insisted that the poison pills prepared by his physician be tested first on Blondi. ·
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