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What the Cameron leadership wants (and doesn't want) from the SnowStorm Plot

I've been working the phones in the last hour and this is what I'm hearing from my best Conservative sources:

The ideal scenario for the Conservatives is for Brown to call an immediate General Election and deal with the "Snowstorm plotters" that way. This is what happened in the last episode of The Thick Of It when Dan Millar challenged PM 'Tom" for the leadership and Malcolm Tucker rushed the nation to the polls. If life imitated art this would be the Tories' dream scenario. It would look like Brown was running from his party and he would not be a credible leader. The Tory election machine is ready to go. I think this scenario is about 99% unlikely but it's a fun idea.

The next preferred scenario is for Brown to be bloodily ousted and then for a fractious leadership contest between one of the Milibands and Harriet Harman or Alan Johnson. Brown will go if the Cabinet moves against him but the lack of an agreed alternative candidate is holding them back.

The third best option from CCHQ's point of view is for Brown to survive the Hoon/Hewitt plot but stagger on but clearly without the confidence of his party. This looks the likeliest option unless in Downing Street right now a delegation of Harman/Straw/Mandelson/Miliband are waiting outside the Prime Minister's study.

The least attractive option is for Brown to go quietly and the Cabinet to agree that Alan Johnson takes control. The Tories have based this election on Brown as leader. They want him to stay.

Tim Montgomerie


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