Ben Brogan (yes again!) is reporting that Sir Malcolm Rifkind has opened fire on Gordon Brown tonight for using the power of government patronage to lure Tories into his tent:
"As leader of the Labour party, Gordon Brown is perfectly entitled to make any Labour appointments he sees fit. But as Prime Minister, making appointments to Government positions to score party political points is dangerously close to an abuse of the proper position of a Prime Minister. It is perfectly clear that his over-riding motivation in a number of recent appointments of both Conservatives and Liberal Democrats has not been the unique expertise of the individuals involved but the fact that they belong to a different political party. It is deeply cynical. Gordon Brown promised a new honesty in politics. We are not seeing it."
The danger for Brown is, of course, that when someone like Patrick Mercer sees the incompetence of Labour at close quarters he’ll be able to quit his advisory position. Those headlines will be worth having.