But the summer of 2007 was last week emerging as an increasingly likely option for a handover of power. John Prescott was understood to favour this date, and Brownites have argued that the review of future spending being conducted by Brown and Blair - due out in July 2007 - provided an obvious point of transition. 'Things will really start moving around the spending review,' said one leading supporter of the Chancellor.
With these "friends", who needs David Cameron's continued efforts to paint Brown into a corner?
The chancellor, he says, is responsible for an “extremist” approach to the economy. “The extreme thing to do is what Gordon Brown tends to do, which is to take the proceeds of growth, borrow even more, spend massively, waste a lot and leaving a massive debt hangover,” he said.