Web Only: the best of the blogs

The five must-read blogs from today, on the plot to oust Brown, immigration, and Cameron's quangos

1. Why this plot will fail

Sunder Katwala at Next Left maintains that Gordon Brown will survive this latest attempt to oust him, summarising the logistical and political problems it would pose.

2. Latest plot against Gordon Brown poses difficult question for Labour MPs

Tom Clark at the Guardian's Politics Blog says that Brown is by no means safe, and is still paying the price for the election that never was.

3. The plot against Brown

Over at UK Polling Report, Anthony Wells dissects the arguments about the potential benefits of deposing the Labour leader, analysing figures from a range of polls.

4. MPs' Balanced Migration group will "stoke up anti-immigrant sentiment"

Left Foot Forward features an exclusive statement from Tim Finch, head of migration at the IPPR think tank, responding to the cross-party group urging the government to impose limits on immigration.

5. How many new quangos has Cameron announced?

Sunny Hundal lists three new bodies -- with the list growing -- announced by David Cameron, despite his promised "bonfire of the quangos".

 

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Theresa May is paying the price for mismanaging Boris Johnson

The Foreign Secretary's bruised ego may end up destroying Theresa May. 

And to think that Theresa May scheduled her big speech for this Friday to make sure that Conservative party conference wouldn’t be dominated by the matter of Brexit. Now, thanks to Boris Johnson, it won’t just be her conference, but Labour’s, which is overshadowed by Brexit in general and Tory in-fighting in particular. (One imagines that the Labour leadership will find a way to cope somehow.)

May is paying the price for mismanaging Johnson during her period of political hegemony after she became leader. After he was betrayed by Michael Gove and lacking any particular faction in the parliamentary party, she brought him back from the brink of political death by making him Foreign Secretary, but also used her strength and his weakness to shrink his empire.

The Foreign Office had its responsibility for negotiating Brexit hived off to the newly-created Department for Exiting the European Union (Dexeu) and for navigating post-Brexit trade deals to the Department of International Trade. Johnson was given control of one of the great offices of state, but with no responsibility at all for the greatest foreign policy challenge since the Second World War.

Adding to his discomfort, the new Foreign Secretary was regularly the subject of jokes from the Prime Minister and cabinet colleagues. May likened him to a dog that had to be put down. Philip Hammond quipped about him during his joke-fuelled 2017 Budget. All of which gave Johnson’s allies the impression that Johnson-hunting was a licensed sport as far as Downing Street was concerned. He was then shut out of the election campaign and has continued to be a marginalised figure even as the disappointing election result forced May to involve the wider cabinet in policymaking.

His sense of exclusion from the discussions around May’s Florence speech only added to his sense of isolation. May forgot that if you aren’t going to kill, don’t wound: now, thanks to her lost majority, she can’t afford to put any of the Brexiteers out in the cold, and Johnson is once again where he wants to be: centre-stage. 

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. His daily briefing, Morning Call, provides a quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics.