Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

The Insider: Hilary Schemes against Brown, Blair Sweats in Ankara, and a Gallant Tory Eyes a Gong

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

The Insider: Hilary Schemes against Brown, Blair Sweats in Ankara, and a Gallant Tory Eyes a Gong

Article excerpt

Just how did all this damaging hype about Tony v Gordon emerge, MPs are asking. Brown's spinners are noisily discounting their man, and not even Tom Kelly, the PM's spokesman, would be stupid or presumptuous enough to set the dogs of rumour loose. I hear that MPs need look no further than the Chief Whip, Hilary Armstrong, who is so determined to find a "stop Gordon" candidate that enthusiasm has got the better of discretion. Hence the stories insisting that Blair will go on and on. Or that he has told "close associates" he will stand down only if he believes he is an electoral liability. Which is never.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Armstrong's involvement is also being linked to John Reid (another Blairite fanatic) through her husband, Paul Corrigan, who is special adviser to the Health Secretary. Corrigan, a Sixties sociology lecturer, dreamed up foundation hospitals, so he should be just about the right chap to split Labour down the middle when the leadership struggle actually begins.

Blair's day trip to Ankara started badly, and fell away. He was force-fed Turkish delight by the prime minister, endured the eminent solitude of a top table all by himself, and was forced to sit on the tarmac for an hour in a plane without air-conditioning in stupefying heat. "This is a John Major moment," muttered one of the lobby hacks on the plane. "Shots of him hoofing back to the terminal will finish him off." In the event, only the chilled Graves suffered.

Rebellion takes many forms, happily. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.