Brown picks 'A-team' for election campaign

Cabinet group includes ministers who were slow to support him against rebels

Gordon Brown has set up an "inner cabinet" to oversee Labour's general election campaign as he tries to convince his ministers that he will adopt a "team approach".

The Independent has learnt that his 10-strong "A-team" includes ministers who took several hours to declare their support for Mr Brown when rebel backbenchers launched a coup against him last week. They are the Foreign Secretary David Miliband, Labour's deputy leader Harriet Harman, the Chancellor Alistair Darling and the Justice Secretary Jack Straw, who denied speculation that they were colluding with the rebels.

Mr Brown normally chairs the "strategy group", a role performed by Lord Mandelson, the Business Secretary and chairman of election strategy when the Prime Minister cannot attend. Other members include the Home Secretary Alan Johnson, the Schools Secretary and close Brown ally Ed Balls, the International Development Secretary Douglas Alexander, who is the election co-ordinator, and the Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband, who is drafting Labour's manifesto.

But Mr Brown's fightback suffered a blow when Peter Watt, Labour's former general secretary, backed calls for him to stand down immediately. In a new book, he claims that Mr Alexander told him when he was pressing for an autumn 2007 election: "We have spent 10 years working with this guy [Mr Brown] and we don't actually like him. We have always thought the longer the British public get to know him, the less they would like him as well."

Mr Alexander insisted yesterday: "This was not my view then and is not my view now. I am working hard to get Gordon Brown re-elected as Prime Minister."

Brown aides are citing it as a sign that the Prime Minister is a "collegiate" leader after criticism last week that he relies too heavily on long-time allies such as Mr Balls. Tonight Mr Brown will share a platform with Lord Mandelson, Mr Alexander and Ms Harman when he outlines his election plans to Labour MPs. He will promise that the whole party will take the fight to the Tories, saying: "We can beat them. We must beat them. And we will beat them."

He will say: "From now until polling day, all the Cabinet will set out Labour's aspirations for a better future for Britain than the Tories could ever promise. We cannot and will not fight the election on small ideas but on big ideas. And so we will contrast Labour – the party of aspiration – with the Tories, the party whose only pledge to the mainstream majority is one of austerity."

James Purnell, who resigned from the cabinet last year in protest at Mr Brown's leadership, calls today for radical policies from the Prime Minister. He described Mr Brown as a "remarkable man" but, in an article in The Guardian, said if Labour won the next election it must offer voters "a radically different vision of society".

In a separate speech today Mr Brown will outline his goal for every family in Britain to have access to broadband linked to their children's school. The £300m investment will, he will say, provide free laptops and broadband for 270,000 low-income families across the country by March next year.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmReview: A week late, Secret Cinema arrives as interactive screening goes Back to the Future
Travel
travel
Arts and Entertainment
Sydney and Melbourne are locked in a row over giant milk crates
artCultural relations between Sydney and Melbourne soured by row over milk crate art instillation
Arts and Entertainment
Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux play teeneage lovers in the French erotic drama 'Blue Is The Warmest Colour' - The survey found four times as many women admitting to same-sex experiences than 20 years ago
filmBlue Is The Warmest Colour, Bojack Horseman and Hobbit on the way
Arts and Entertainment
Preparations begin for Edinburgh Festival 2014
Edinburgh festivalAll the best shows to see at Edinburgh this year
News
Two giraffes pictured on Garsfontein Road, Centurion, South Africa.
i100
News
Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleBenidorm, actor was just 68
Environment
View from the Llanberis Track to the mountain lake Llyn
Du’r Arddu
environmentA large chunk of Mount Snowdon, in north Wales, is up for sale
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
News
Morrissey pictured in 2013
people
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Commercial Property

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: KENT MARKET TOWN - An exciting new role has ar...

Financial Accountants, Cardiff, £250 p/day

£180 - £250 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Financial Accountants - Key Banking...

Regulatory Reporting-MI-Bank-Cardiff-£300/day

£200 - £500 per day + competitive: Orgtel: I am currently working on a large p...

Recruitment Consultant - Bristol - Computer Futures - £18-25k

£18000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Computer Futures are currently...

Day In a Page

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices