In a weird display of the mutual weakness at the top of the Labour Party, the Prime Minister and Chief Whip are in disagreement over Gordon Brown’s plans to legislate for a referendum on AV (which would be held after the general election).
Earlier this week the Parliamentary Labour Party debated the proposal and ended up divided and without agreement.
Whilst Gordon Brown and, rather surprisingly given his views on the Liberal Democrats, Jack Straw are both in favour, prominent opponents include Chief Whip Nick Brown. He seems to be particularly motivated by fears that under AV he would lose his seat to the Liberal Democrats – and given how he’s also been lashing out with smears, he’s clearly no fan of the party.
Normally when the Prime Minister and Chief Whip disagree on a major policy like this one of them ends up losing their job. In the rather bizarre current state of the Labour Party, where everyone always seems to be in a weaker position than everyone else (you’d really need an Escher staircase where everyone is on a lower step than everyone else to plot the relationship), that’s not going to happen. At least until polling day.