Thursday, 31 July 2008

David Miliband

If I was a senior member of the Labour Party, I would be very annoyed with David Miliband for giving fresh legs to the leadership story. He may wish to present it as a challenge to David Cameron, but at the very least it is setting out his stall for a future leadership contest.

Labour MPs should be careful about what they wish for. A messy leadership contest would be followed by strong moral pressure for a general election which they would almost certainly lose, providing the shortest prime ministerial tenure in modern history.

There is, of course, no constitutional reason for an election as we elect a party not a person to govern. However, having changed leaders twice, the pressure would be on to seek a fresh mandate.

I am still doubtful about an autumn leadership election. The real danger point for Gordon Brown will be next May if there is a poor performance in the council and European Parliament elections. An authoritative report suggesting that the housing market will not recover for three years does not bode well for the government giving that house prices play such a large role in the 'feel good' factor.

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