Fingers point at PM’s camp after Harman is stitched up
The Mole: Brown’s boys get two Labour women neatly out of the way, says our Downing Street insider
This morning's Cabinet is expected to be a tense affair, with Gordon Brown glowering at the two Labour women who made his Bank Holiday miserable.
Hazel Blears and Harriet Harman may also be seething about the way that they have become victims of the May Day massacre. Harman, more than Blears, has reasons to be angry.
She has a right to ask a question never put to her by John Humphrys on the Today programme yesterday: who gave the 'tip' to
the Daily Telegraph that she was ready to mount a leadership campaign?
The suspicion around Westminster is that it was the Brown camp, eager to stitch her up like a kipper, and it succeeded. In order to deny she was plotting Brown's downfall, Harman had to abase herself, saying how "loyal" she was to her leader at least three times in the interview. Worse, she had to rule herself out of any leadership contest for ever.
Humphrys: "Under no circumstances would you run?"
She added: "I am saying that are no circumstances. I don't want to be Prime Minister. I don't want to be leader of the party. I want Gordon Brown to remain leader of the party after the election."
If she is to be taken at her word, Harman has effectively killed any hope of a woman leading the party in the near future, because Blears is not a credible candidate.
So, from a difficult position, the Brown camp have got a result from the weekend after all: Harman dead, and Blears in a box.
There's one other winner from the weekend - Alan Johnson. While swearing loyalty to Brown, he told Andrew Marr he would "never say never" for the leadership. Which was just what Labour backbenchers wanted to hear. ·
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