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Tuesday, 30 September 2008


Emergency legislation on the financial crisis? It seems to be the first time anyone has talked about that seriously.

Either way by altering the programme of his conference and making a speech on the growing crisis, Cameron has thrown Brown a difficult conundrum. Possibly even a no-win situation.

Speaking to him in a side room at the conference before his speech Cameron let slip that he had been on the phone with the PM last night, as well as the head of the Financial Services Authority.

It may have been that he was truly trying to hammer out a cross party deal on emergency legislation - perhaps it was knocked back by the Government. If it was, then Cameron's pledge today to support legislation is throwing down the gauntlet to Brown. If it wasn't then Cameron has stolen Brown's thunder.

If the Labour leader does now bring forward legislation, with or without Tory support, he risks making it seem like Labour is following the opposition's lead.

If he courts Tory support that risk grows - it may even feel as though the Government 'needs' the Conservatives to move forward.

If Brown refuses support and brings forward a bill he may look as though he is playing party politics with the most important piece of legislation in a generation - playing into the "irresponsible" tag put on him by Cameron previously.

The third option, not bringing any legislation forward, will make him look like he is doing nothing - the worst possible outcome.

While Cameron called for a stop to the jockeying for position that led to the failure in American politics this weekend, he was actually doing just that.

But looking beyond the sly move made by the Conservative leader, there is something else here.

If Cameron, Brown, or both think that emergency legislation to stop banks going under is necessary - doesn't that mean they strongly expect more to go down? Watch this space.

Joseph Watts
Parliamentary Correspondent

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