The roads weren’t the only thing giving icy conditions yesterday, with news of a letter written by Patricia Hewitt and Geoff Hoon to all members of the Parliamentary Labour Party suggesting an immediate vote of Gordon Brown’s leadership of the party.
It was couched, of course, in the most democratic terms – in order simply to polarise support behind the majority and lay to rest the “background briefing and grumbling” which would otherwise persist up to a General Election.
But there was a clear intention that this tactic would ‘smoke out’ leadership challengers from among the Labour Cabinet – a tactic which worked in the days of Margaret Thatcher, but which sadly failed miserably today, bringing the disquiet in the Labour Party to front pages once again. There were those, of course, who condemned the move, those who felt the letter was intended to “shake the tree and see if Alan Johnson fell out”, and by this evening by far the largest queue was those who wanted an investigation into why the letter was sent in the first place.
With the snow on the ground, it’s odd on that one of the headlines will mention Labour’s ‘Winter of Discontent’…