The AJ4PM committee is a prefect model. Meetings take place in the open, there are no little cabals and the motives of its members are honourable. All we have attempted to do is make the case and demonstrate why the Labour party would be better placed to win a fourth term, if it had a leader who could communicate and sell its message rather better than Gordon Brown.
If the Cabinet and Labour MPs had acted as they had been advised, this little committee would have disbanded and regrouped to determine who should replace Alan Johnson during Labour's fourth term.
However, our small task continues, mainly due to the failure of Team Cameron to ‘seal the deal’. This unexpected event has resulted in the polls indicating there may well be a hung parliament after the election, where Labour is almost certain to be the largest party. That being the case, then the Lib Dems may well be called upon for its support.
Until yesterday, our esteemed chairman was advocating that Alan Johnson would be best placed to cut a deal with the Lib Dems. Then suddenly there was an about turn.
Today, John Rentoul has responded:
If the choice for Labour MPs were to ditch Brown or go into opposition, they would ditch Brown. But it would not be. My point is that, if Labour were the largest party, all Brown has to do is to persuade Clegg not to oppose his continuing as Prime Minister. Once again, the key point is this:
There is a limit to what Nick Clegg can say No to.
Well, the small problem is that Clegg has already said no, and it will be very difficult for him to swallow his words. Moreover, an unelected Prime Minister, with a 60 seat majority in his back pocket has failed, if he is not returned with a mandate at a subsequent election.
Anyway, if the polls remain as now, the campaign may very well determine if Clegg can indeed work with Brown, as the question is bound to be raised as we near election day.
One further point that our chairman needs to consider:
Brown’s removal would make it far easier for David Miliband to eventually succeed or become leader of the Labour party at the same time Johnson become Prime Minister under an arrangement with the Lib Dems.
After his experience of recent weeks, David Cameron would surely agree it is always advisable to have an agreed strategy and avoid U-turns. On the other hand, we should be thankful to him for allowing us to have this little discussion.