Brown aide goes amid new turmoil in Cabinet

Gordon Brown was battling to contain cabinet indiscipline last night after Alistair Darling undermined his fightback with a devastating forecast for the economy. The Chancellor was unrepentant over a warning in an interview yesterday that the country is on the brink of the worst economic crisis for 60 years. The fresh infighting came as the 'IoS' learned that Stephen Carter, Mr Brown's high-profile strategist, is to leave his job after a bitter turf war inside Downing Street.

The public relations guru's move to a lower-key role is a victory for the Prime Minister's long-serving advisers, who have have clashed with Mr Carter, but will deepen the sense of a Government in crisis. Less than a month after David Miliband infuriated Mr Brown by setting out his stall as a leader-in-waiting, Mr Darling repeatedly refused to deny that there would be a leadership challenge this autumn.

Asked in a TV interview whether he thought the Prime Minister's position was safe, he said only: "I think Gordon Brown will do a very good job."

In an interview with The Guardian, Mr Darling ignited speculation that he could resign from the Cabinet when the Prime Minister holds an autumn reshuffle. Mr Brown was said to be furious at the sudden intervention from the usually loyal and steady Mr Darling. It threatened to overshadow a planned re-launch this week, which will focus on giving more help to families struggling with the rising costs of housing and fuel.

In echoes of Geoffrey Howe's devastating attack on Margaret Thatcher, Mr Darling told The Guardian: "In 10 months we've gone from doing OK to certainly not doing OK. We patently have not been able to get across what we are for, and what we are about."

Friends of the Chancellor have made it clear that he does not want to be made the "scapegoat" for an imminent recession which could hasten Mr Brown's downfall.

Downing Street said it was "totally relaxed" about Mr Darling's failure to address the question of leadership challenges. But an official pointedly refused to agree with Mr Darling's assessment that the economic crisis is the worst for 60 years. "The Prime Minister agrees it is a very challenging international economic situation."

The Prime Minister will join the Foreign Secretary in Brussels tomorrow for an emergency summit on the crisis in Georgia in their first meeting since Mr Miliband's challenge to Mr Brown's authority a month ago. Rescue plans for housing and fuel poverty will be unveiled later in the week.

George Osborne, the Shadow Chancellor, said: "This weekend, on the eve of the launch of Gordon Brown's heavily trailed recovery plan, the Government's economic position is falling apart almost hour by hour. Whether he meant to or not, the Chancellor has blurted out the truth about the dire state of the economy and told us in crude but enduring terms what the British people really feel about Labour.

"Either Gordon Brown must back up what Alistair Darling has said or it will be clear to everyone that the Chancellor no longer commands the confidence of the Prime Minister."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA celebration of British elections
Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Life and Style
A nurse tends to a recovering patient on a general ward at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
Chuck Norris pictured in 1996
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Lucas, I SCREAM DADDIO, Installation View, British Pavilion 2015
artWhy Sarah Lucas is the perfect choice to represent British art at the Venice Biennale
A voter placing a ballot paper in the box at a polling station
Arts and Entertainment
The Queen (Kristin Scott Thomas) in The Audience
theatreReview: Stephen Daldry's direction is crisp in perfectly-timed revival
  • Get to the point
2015 General Election

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin

£13676.46 - £16411.61 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment Cons...

Ashdown Group: Marketing or Business Graduate Opportunity - Norwich - £22,000

£18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Business and Marketing Gr...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...

Ashdown Group: Database Analyst - Birmingham - £22,000 plus benefits

£20000 - £22000 per annum + excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power