I found myself in a strange position this morning, feeling sympathy for Ian Wright MP for Hartlepool. I have felt sorry for him once before when he was apparently caught out in a bare faced lie in a debate at the Corporation Club during the 2004 by-election. That time didn't actually matter as it turned out since the Hartlepool Mail reporter present somehow missed it completely! However, Ian must right now be agonising over what to do. Will he join the still small handful of Labour MPs who have taken massive risks with their careers to become part of the initial batch to publicly call for Brown to go or does he wait and see?
I've looked at his website and his two most recent press releases are August 22nd and September 11th so neither are up to date enough to give any clue as to his thinking. Of course in all rebellions there comes the point when the outcome is clear. Brown will go, have to face up to a party election or it will all fizzle out.
One thing however is certain, the actions of every single member of the parliamentary party will be noted and remembered and the critical element if Brown is forced out will be the point at which they decided to join or not.
So Iain faces a possible career defining decision. Stay loyal and if Brown survives then his career is safe, at least until next time. Wait until Brown goes and then join the rebellion could be too little, too late. My personal prediction, based on Ian's voting record, is that he will take the safe option and be 100% loyal to Brown right up to the point he is forced out as Prime Minister. Iain will then be 100% loyal to Brown's replacement and claim he had always wanted Brown to go but placed party loyalty above his personal wishes!
Of course its all fairly academic since Labour face an extended period in opposition after the next election, simply because that's how British Politics and the two party system work. The Tories will win because its their turn. Labour will get it back in 2018 or 2022 by which time Iain will be in his 40's and either a senior shadow cabinet member ready for a push for the top or a life long back bencher hanging on for his gold plated parliamentary pension.