UK News

Insights from the UK and beyond

Expenses row saps Brown’s authority

Photo

It must have seemed like a good idea at the time. Gordon Brown setting out a plan to overhaul MPs’ unpopular allowances and announcing it on YouTube too.

A week later the plan has unravelled in the face of opposition protest and internal Labour party misgivings. The upshot is more bad press and the feeling that Brown’s authority has been further undermined.

Throw in a budget in which the government has been forced to admit to the worst economic performance since World War Two and it has been a few days to forget for Brown.

Commentators are increasingly writing about the Conservatives as a government-in-waiting, a focus that carries risks because it exposes their policies plans to closer scrutiny.

Getting a nose in front

Photo

Hosting a shindig conference at one of Britain’s most prestigious racecourses in the genteel spa town of Cheltenham hardly sends out a message that David Cameron’s opposition Conservatives are trying to reach out to the masses.

But the decision to come to the rolling hills of the Cotswolds sheds light on one of the obstacles standing between Cameron and the keys to No. 10 Downing Street.

Another bumper Budget?

Photo

All we’ve heard for the past few weeks is how little room there is for Labour to pump more money into the economy to fight the recession.

The increasingly popular — and confident — opposition Conservatives have gained ground by blaming Prime Minister Gordon Brown for turning the public purse into a public hearse.

Sorry Darling, Davos is for Mandy

If there were any questions over who is number two in British Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s cabinet, Davos might have helped clear them up.

While Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling is giving the annual gathering of global big wigs a miss, business minister Lord Peter Mandelson has found the time to go.

Has Brown lost the Spring in his step?

Photo

Is the Labour Party going to regret not hosting a Spring Party Conference this year?

Yes, it is going to save them a lot of cash, and Prime Minister Gordon Brown has enough to worry about ahead of the G20 financial crisis summit in Britain in April.

Sarah Brown comes out from the shadows

Photo

They all agreed. “She was lovely.”

Sarah Brown finally stepped out from the shadow of her husband, Gordon, and appeared on the campaign trail.

While the prime minister was dashing around the world as a global economic statesman, saving the financial system, Sarah was helping save her husband’s political reputation on home soil.

Glenrothes: It was Brown wot won it?

Photo

Newspapers are crediting Gordon Brown with Labour’s surprise win in the Glenrothes by-election and says it has ended any talk of a cabinet coup.

They say his gamble to break with the convention that a prime minister does not campaign in by-election polls succeeded. Brown visited the seat twice, while his wife Sarah was on the local trail at least half a dozen times.

Truly, madly, deeply: They loved New Brown

Labour was destined for defeat at the next election and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said he wasn’t going to step down.

The Labour Party conference in Manchester had been predictably subdued.

The only story in town had been who was going to have the guts to turn Judas.

And to cap it all off, there was to be a speech from a man renowned for repeating anodyne phrases like “long-term decisions” and “sustainable future” ad infinitum.

Brown needs Darling in these troubled times

    One thing looks certain after Alistair Darling’s speech to***the Labour Party conference on Monday — he’ll be Chancellor of***the Exchequer for a while yet.******    Prime Minister Gordon Brown is expected to reshuffle his***ministerial team next week and there’s been a lot of speculation***that Darling could lose his job and be moved to another***department.******    The silver-haired finance minister has had a rough ride***lately. The economy is on the brink of recession and his***comments in a magazine interview saying the economic challenges***were the greatest in 60 years caused a furore and were blamed***for sinking the pound.******    But delegates at the Labour conference today just loved him.***They stood and clapped and then they clapped some more after***Darling hit out at unfettered capitalism and the huge payouts***given to bankers that he said helped cause the credit crunch.******    Darling looked genuinely embarrassed. He called for them to***stop but the delegates just went on. Besides modesty, the***finance minister had another reason for wanting them to stop.******    He had another type of conference call to attend to. A G7***one. The finance ministers and central bankers of the rich***nations club were having a hastily-arranged telephone chat at***1230 London time to discuss the latest bout of market turmoil.******    Given London’s position as one of the world’s top financial***centres, Darling could hardly miss out and he rushed off the***stage to get on with his G7 buddies.******    The crisis also looks to have cemented Darling’s position.***It would seem odd to remove the finance minister when the whole***world financial system is in the middle of the biggest upheaval***in a generation.******    With Brown making his economic experience a key selling***point, he needs Darling on side.

Labour “lemmings” on tour in Manchester

Britain’s foreign minister David Miliband says he does not want a leadership fight.

But his speech to the Labour party conference in Manchester on Monday was hardly rammed full of ringing endorsements for his Prime Minister either and it won’t end the whispering.

  •