Ed Balls told Monday’s meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party that there was a plot against their leader. A plot coordinated by the Tories. But this just doesn’t make any sense. How did the Tories get hold of Balls’s papers when his desk would have been cleared at the Department of Education before the transition of power? How did the Tories get hold of the draft of David Miliband’s un-delivered victory speech? No doubt they relished Ed Miliband’s discomfort, but they can’t have been pulling the strings.
Rumour has it in Labour circles that Balls is making noises about bringing Damian McBride back into the fold. McPoison was spotted last night on the Commons Terrace and is creeping back on to the political scene, lobbying for international aid at a meeting with DfID shadow Harriet Harman last week. Damian’s girlfriend Balshan is already working for Team Balls. That doesn’t sit very well with one high-level shadow cabinet member.
The former Brown bunker-boy, turned Blairite-convert, Douglas Alexander felt the brutal sharp end of McBride’s briefings after the cancellation of Brown’s election in 2007. The blame for Brown’s dithering was thrown at his feet by Damian and Balls. He was still a relatively close insider during the Blair-plot days though, with access to the plans that ended up in the Daily Telegraph’s hands. Significant, however, was his Damascene conversion and subsequent appointment as David Miliband’s campaign manager. He would have seen every single draft of that victory speech.
Dougie has the motive and ability, does he have an alibi? The leaks were a non-fatal shot across the bow of Balls, reminding everyone of how ghastly and vicious Labour once was, as well as providing an incentive for Ed to up his game. Is it any surprise that suspicious fingers are being pointed at Wee Dougie…
UPDATE: Damian has been in touch, via text message, to dispute him being on the terrace last night. Must have been a look-a-like.
UPDATE II: Damian texts again to say he hasn’t seen Harriet for years. She was at the conference part-organised by Cafod, his new employer, but he missed her. Presumably when he fled Guido…
UPDATE III: 20 June 2011: Source now says, having seen a photo of Derek Draper, that it was Dolly not Damian. Guido apologises for the confusion.