Friday, June 02, 2006
Is Number Ten Trying to Force Prescott Out?
So what now for John Prescott? Alan Johnson has stoked the story up again by saying he'd like to be Deputy Leader when the time comes (sooner than you think, Alan). I detect strange things happening in Whitehall at the moment. I was tipped off about a rumour this morning that there will be a Prescott-related story in the Sunday newspapers. However, as I haven't been able to stand it up I won't go into any more details. But if indeed there is another story on Sunday it's difficult to see how Prescott could survive another media battering. There is now, I think, an inevitability about his departure from the Government - it's not a question of if, but when. Perhaps someone in one of the tabloids will make public the details of one of his numerous other affairs, which up to now they've not printed. But the real question is this. If he was forced to resign from the Cabinet, would he automatically resign as Deputy Leader of the Labour Party? I can see no rule which would force him to. There is a school of thought that it's in Gordon Brown's interest for him to stay in situ, as Brown wouldn't want someone like Alan Johnson to be able to build a power base from the Deputy Leadership. The same school of thought believes that the Ultras in Number Ten would be quite happy to throw Prezza over the side as he has now outlived his usefulness. Number Ten has developed such a bunker mentality that anything is possible. And let's face it, they've got form in this area. Desperate people do desperate things. There is a whiff of Berlin 1945 about Number Ten at the moment. So if indeed there is a Prescott story in the Sundays, you can rest assured that it emanated from Number Ten. I'm very pleased I'm doing the Sunday newspaper review on NEws 24 this Saturday night! Hat tip for graphic to Beau Bo D'Or