One of the things that the rebels have got right so far is not turning this into a personal campaign against Gordon Brown. The Labour party is reluctant to dump its leader, they really don’t do assassination, and so the clever thing to do is to coax rather than bully them into it. By this standard, George Howarth’s remarks comparing Brown to Neville Chamberlain are a mistake.
On Newsnight, Howarth declared:
"He’s so unpopular that no one can remember a time since Neville Chamberlain, after Hitler invaded Norway, that anyone was so unpopular.
"And we can’t allow that situation to continue."
This is the kind of remark that might create a backlash among Labour backbenchers and allows the Brownites to portray the rebels as being involved in some kind of vindictive, personal campaign. The pained tones of David Cairns are far more likely to remove Brown from Number 10 than this kind of full frontal assault.