Cabinet turn on Brown

The cabinet were unusually frank
The cabinet were unusually frank

Gordon Brown's cabinet colleagues made a series of unflattering assessments of the prime minister last night.

On Channel 4's Dispatches programme, Jack Straw, Alistair Darling and Peter Hain all spoke to camera in a way unimaginable under Tony Blair.

While none of the comments constituted outright treason, their frankness will be interpreted by analysts either as an attempt to demonstrate the government is 'listening' following heavy electoral defeats last month or simply as further evidence of Mr Brown's crumbling authority.

Chancellor Alistair Darling claimed he knew upon entering Number 11 the 10p tax rate would constitute a major electoral problem.

"When I became chancellor and you open the books, if you like, and you say 'what are the problems we are facing?' I knew this was a problem," he said.

"There's been a cost, there's no doubt about it - you can see that in the polls."

Jack Straw, justice secretary, highlighted Mr Brown's indecision.

"Tony was a much more instinctive decisions-maker," he said.

"And I mean sometimes with Tony, you had the reverse problem, that you'd find there was a decision and then you had to think of the arguments in favour of it."


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