Charlie Whelan says . . .

Don't believe it - "Blair to make Brown foreign secretary"

The No 10 hate machine was busy briefing in the week before Gordon Brown's big economic statement. On the back of the twice-disgraced Peter Mandelson's attacks on the Chancellor, laughably under the guise of a call for peace, the EU commissioner's mates in Downing Street have been up to their old tricks.

The latest wheeze is to put it about that our great leader will offer Brown the job of foreign secretary after the next election.They might as well offer him the job as No 10's toilet attendant, because he has as much chance as accepting that as accepting a move to the Foreign Office and they know it. It's not that Brown couldn't do the job or that he thinks it beneath him. But it would be seen as a humiliating demotion.

It would be fun, though, to see the faces of all those pompous prats in the Foreign Office if he did accept the move. They would certainly hate Brown. So would most of our ambassadors - he refuses to stay with them when abroad because he can't stand all that time wasted on posh dinners. Robin Cook may have grown to love the grandeur of the post but the Chancellor certainly would not.

Why is No 10 so intent on destabilising Brown? My guess is that they just can't stand the idea of Brown becoming PM and will do anything they can to prevent it. They are too stupid to realise that the one thing that would guarantee Brown the prime ministership - and hasten the present incumbent's demise - is for Blair to sack him.

"Keep it up chaps" will surely be the sensible response to the poisonous and anonymous Downing Street briefer.