Page last updated at 14:29 GMT, Sunday, 11 May 2008 15:29 UK

Levy's timing unpleasant for Brown

By David Thompson
BBC News political correspondent

Lord Levy on what Gordon Brown knew about cash for honours

In politics, as in showbusiness, timing is everything.

As a former pop impresario - he is the man who brought you Alvin Stardust - Lord Levy would know that better than most.

Which is why his decision to tour the television studios, reiterating his belief that it would be "inconceivable" Gordon Brown did not know about the loans made to the Labour Party by wealthy businessman to keep it afloat and allow it to fight the 2005 general election, is so interesting.

Lord Levy's book, giving his version of the cash-for-honours row, is published on Monday, reason enough for him to be out and about promoting it.

But he has already made the point he thinks it stretches credulity for Mr Brown - in charge of Labour's election campaign and a well-known "details" man - to claim he did not know how it was being paid for.

Hanging out to dry

The prime minister was insisting, less than two weeks ago, that he knew nothing about the loans.

He says he did not want to know about who was funding the party because, as the then chancellor, he did not want to be put in a position where any change in tax policy could be interpreted as a sop to donors.

In itself, Lord Levy's intervention probably would not unduly trouble Downing Street... had it not come on a weekend where you really wouldn't want to have been Mr Brown's paperboy.

Cherie Blair and John Prescott publicly washing, spinning and hanging out to dry the dirty linen of the Brown-Blair relationship.

A poll which suggests Labour could lose the safe seat of Crewe and Nantwich.

Another which puts David Cameron ahead of the prime minister on, well, on pretty much everything really.

Oh - and the small matter of the row over the abolition of the 10p tax rate, a row which Frank Field, the Labour MP who has led the charge against his own government on this one, warns is still completely capable of costing Gordon Brown his job.

Timing is everything - for pop stars, politicians - and especially prime ministers.


SEE ALSO
Levy 'not bitter' towards Blair
11 May 08 |  UK Politics
Brown shrugs off Levy's criticism
28 Apr 08 |  UK Politics
Lord Levy calls for donations cap
07 Nov 07 |  UK Politics
Profile: Lord Levy
12 Jul 06 |  UK Politics

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