I fear I’m about to ruin any slim chance I ever had of being invited on to the Sunday AM sofa but you can see why Gordon Brown chose Andrew Marr for the ‘election ain’t going to happen’ announcement. The questioning never put the Prime Minister on the spot in the way that the occasion demanded. The Prime Minister has behaved self-indulgently and his explanation for not having an election was plainly dishonest. Andrew Marr never found a way of voicing what all viewers were thinking. We did, nonetheless, learn the following:
- Gordon Brown said that he had a duty to consider an autumn election because of representations made by opposition parties and his own advisers.
- He told Mr Marr that Labour could have won an autumn election but the country deserves to see his vision for the country and his implementation of it.
- A General Election in 2008 would be "very unlikely".
- The Tory proposal on IHT would have left a £5bn "black hole" in the nation’s finances but he did not rule out making changes to the tax so that it is levied at a fair level.
- Tomorrow’s Iraq statement will be wider in scope than a simple restatement of last Tuesday’s bungled ‘troops home by Christmas’ announcement.
Also interviewed on the programme was David Cameron. He concluded that yesterday’s events would have a "fundamental" impact on politics. People knew that Gordon Brown had not been straight with them. He had tried to treat the British people like fools. He wasn’t going to the country because he feared that he’d lose.
The Conservative leader said that he was open to the possibility of fixed-term parliaments but he was not persuaded. Tony Blair had promised to serve a full-term and hadn’t. It was right in those circumstances that Brown sought his own mandate. Whatever the polls had been saying, the Tories had called for an election.
He defended his proposals on inheritance tax but insisted the party had a broad set of policies – including on the environment.
10.45am: Guido is also unimpressed with Mr Marr – Brown’s poodle.