I wrote this morning that the Labour momentum was against a deal, with figures such as John Reid and David Blunkett saying it would be a mistake.
Paul Waugh is reporting that Andy Burnham has come out in public, saying:
“I think we have got to respect the results of the general election and we can’t get away from the fact that Labour didn’t win.”
(He also backed Blunkett’s comments. “David has spoken with real authority on this matter.”)
It’s striking given that Burnham, health secretary, may be a leadership contender (although an outsider at 25:1 as recently as the weekend). Standing up to the all-powerful Lord Mandelson gives him some much-needed gravitas. It is also fresh evidence that the Labour team may not be able to deliver a deal even if Nick Clegg wanted one.
I’m still hearing from a handful of Labour people who back coalition. One told me that it was worth staying in power because “ownership is nine-tenths of the law”. His theory is that MPs are wrong to presume that the Tories will be hugely unpopular in a year’s time.
“The cuts won’t start to hurt ordinary people until after then,” he warns. “It’s dangerous to presume that we can just waltz back in.”