This article from the FT waaay back in May mentions a section in the Labour Party rulebook that allows for a ‘silent coup’ by a governing Labour cabinet.
4B.2e Procedure in a vacancy
(i) When the party is in government and the party leader is prime minister
and the party leader, for whatever reason, becomes permanently unavailable,
the cabinet shall, in consultation with the NEC, appoint one of its members to
serve as party leader until a ballot under these rules can be carried out.
(ii) When the party is in government and the deputy leader becomes party
leader under (i) of this rule, the Cabinet may, in consultation with the NEC,
appoint one of its members to serve as deputy leader until the next party
conference. The Cabinet may alternatively, in consultation with the NEC,
leave the post vacant until the next party conference.
I’m not sure how accurate this is, seeing as I must admit the Labour Party constitution hasn’t been on my reading list lately. If it is for real, then it allows for a fascinating (but completely ridiculous) scenario.
The men in grey suits arrive at 10 Downing Street this Friday evening, the night before the Labour conference in Manchester. They walk in to see Gordon frantically packing his suitcase ready to trot off ‘oop north’. With sombre faces, their hearts racing, one strides forward to face the PM.
With a finesse finely honed through months (probably years) of practice, he calmly states “It’s over Gordon.”
Cue the sound of Gordon’s shiny new Nokia 5110 [hey, he’s no techie] shooting across the room. The cabinet shift uneasily, eyeing up people who were previously colleagues united in disarray, now rivals for the top job in Britain….
Yeah I know, it’s not gonna happen. It’d be too interesting….