Wednesday, June 27, 2007

EXCLUSIVE: Brown's first U-Turn

With all the focus today on the technicalities of the handover of power, a colleague and I have both noticed that a quirk of today's events has seen Gordon Brown apparently retaining his job as Chancellor as well as Prime Minister. One of his first acts on returning from the Palace, according to the afternoon lobby briefing, was to appoint Tony Blair 'Steward of the Chiltern Hundreds' - the constitutional device for an MP to resign their seat.

However, the token appointment is traditionally one for the Treasury, and the press notice from his old office therefore stated: "The Chancellor of the Exchequer has this day appointed the Right Honourable Anthony Charles Lynton Blair to be Steward and Bailiff of the Three Hundreds of Chiltern." (http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/newsroom_and_speeches/press/2007/press_72_07.cfm).
So it seems until he (we expect) appoints Alistair Darling to the role tomorrow, Gordon Brown is still technically Chancellor.

Even more interesting, as in his budget speech this year he began with a joke:

'I am told that in the past two centuries only one Chancellor before now has delivered 11 Budgets, and then a 12th. That was when Mr. Gladstone combined the positions of Chancellor and Prime Minister, something no one should ever contemplate doing again'

So - the Brown government is not yet a day old, and we already have his first U-turn!

1 comment:

dizzy said...

Actually Nigel old chap I think you're wrong. Technically, when Blair met the Queen he resigned his Government, not just him. Therefore there is no person in the office of Chancellor at the moment, merely a conceptual position.

In fact, I think technically, no legislation can actually pass until he announces his Cabinet.