It has been widely reported that the Campaign Group is contemplating putting up a candidate. John Austin is also willing to stand as a stalking horse candidate, as is Glenda Jackson. But will they find 70 more MPs to back them? It all has to be done in time for party conference.So who are the likely signatories to any nomination papers? 52 dissidents rebelled on the education vote and 25 did not vote – those 77 can be assumed to be likely to want rid of Blair, add in the Brown backers on the government payroll and you have more than enough. The payroll Brownites are: Des Browne, Alistair Darling, Yvette Cooper, Nigel Griffiths, Harriet Harman, John Healey, Dawn Primarolo, Stephen Timms, Tom Watson. On the backbenches: Ian Austin, Ed Balls, Nick Brown, Tom Clarke, Frank Dobson, Doug Henderson, John McFall, Ed Milliband, Geoffrey Robinson, Clare Short, Andrew Smith, Michael Wills. But do they have the guts?
With nearly a hundred MPs for a stalking horse to appeal to, Guido has a fair few quid on Betfair’s Blair Switch bet backing the change happening July/September. In this scenario the Brownites get a smooth transition by convincing Blair they have the required numbers. At the last moment before this year’s party conference (to prevent any other candidates coming forward) Brown’s name is put forward with Blair as his first nominator. Brown becomes leader of the Labour party at the conference, Blair remains as PM to serve out his term as promised, vanity satisfied by out-distancing Thatcher. Brown gets on with the Labour party campaign against Cameron, Blair leads the country in a presidential style. This is the “Aznar solution”.