Geoff Hoon and Patricia Hewitt have failed. Their scheme to oust Gordon Brown before the Election dissolved, and quickly. In the past, many MPs in the Labour party agreed that the Prime minister was a hindrance, the cause of poor results in by-elections and in Europe. So why was there no support for the secret ballot?
I believe it shows not that most Labour MPs actually believe Gordon Brown is doing a good job, but that of all people he is the only one that could possibly win them the election. Were there to be a leadership change now, David Cameron and the media would be able to claim the Labour party were getting desperate. In addition, Gordon Brown is somewhat sympathised with currently, in part thanks to The Sun’s reports on his letter to Mrs Janes. He is also rather infallible, cleverly wording answers and rarely making any personal faux-pas.
Another question Labour MPs may have been thinking is: Who would succeed? David Miliband seems to be priming himself for an assault on Gordon Brown’s No.10 as soon as it becomes available. In many peoples’ eyes, he is inexperienced and still has a lot to learn. Harriet Harman? Alistair Darling? The voters would not like them. The choice is not great.
A final reason for the muted response: the Labour Party is stuck in a hole and they know it. Gordon Brown would make a fine scapegoat if they lose the election. I have little doubt that then his days are numbered.