Friday, 25 July 2008

Glasgow East

Not splashed by the media quite as much as some earlier by-election defeats, although I had my first media call shortly after 7.30 a.m.

The FT yesterday was saying that Labour would hang on and this seemed to be the general media view. However, clearly something happened on the day. By the time of the BBC 10 o'clock news the word was that there would be a few hundred votes in it but it looked as if Labour would be out. So it proved to be.

A journo told me that vox pops on the day were showing solid Labour voters shifting to the SNP. Quite why there was this late swing is not clear as there were no negative news events.

It's another blow for Gordon Brown and will make his Warwick 2 negotiations this weekend more difficult. One can expect the unions to argue that they have a package of policies that will shore up the core Labour vote.

I still do not see Brown being removed any time soon. There is no agreed alternative candidate so one is not going to get the required number of Labour MPs nominating a successor. The notion that a group of Cabinet ministers will call on Brown and tell him to go falls apart if he calls their bluff and says he is staying on. Any who resign can be portrayed as disloyal.

What this does increase is the chances of quite a significant September reshuffle with Margaret Beckett brought back in to the Cabinets to steady the troops and provide a media response to any bad news.

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