A second senior Government Minister weighed into the debate about Gordon Brown's leadership today when the Health Minister, Ivan Lewis, urged Gordon Brown to be bolder in his approach to policy.
The Member of Parliament for Bury South (where I grew up near Manchester) argued that the only way forward for Labour was to be bolder.
This is the second time in as many months that Ivan has argued openly for Labour to change and be bolder when it comes to helping and reassuring people that Labour is on their side. It was an echo of David Miliband's comments yesterday.
Ivan Lewis is absolutely right. We are best when we are bold.
But like David Miliband, it is hard to believe that a Government Minister would have ever made such comments under Tony Blair, whose direction and control of the Party was never seriously questioned.
The cumulative effect of these small events makes the likelihood of a challenge to Gordon Brown all the greater. The fact that the Foreign Secretary refused to dampen speculation today that he wanted to be leader means we are heading into a frenzied month of leadership speculation. Brown must be clawing at his knuckles.
However, we must make sure that we have a proper debate about what the Party stands for. Miliband and Lewis are absolutely right to advocate a bolder sweep of policies. The coronation of Gordon Brown last year avoided a debate about the direction of the Party which was desperately needed. If there is a leadership election over the next two months, members must listen to what each candidate is offering.
The one who offers the boldest platform to take New Labour forward gets my vote.
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