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Brown has to deliver this time.

Byline: KEVIN MAGUIRE

SO Houdini Brown lives to fight another day. The greatest escapologist of modern politics again defied the obituarists - for the moment.

Dozens of Labour MPs still believe the Prime Minister should resign and will sign a quitmail.

A number of Ministers think he must do much better.

Sunday night's Euro results will be awful, truly dreadful on top of a crushing council verdict.

Foolish Caroline Flint's inflated view of her own importance is a nasty cat fight. And there's a tricky Sleaze Thursday by-election in Norwich.

Yet Brown survived to retain his job. Usually that would be taken as read for any PM.

But when James Purnell pulled the trigger, he could have been finished.

Brown should thank friendturned-foe-turned-friend-oncemore: Peter Mandelson. It was the Business Secretary who forced Blairites such as David Miliband and Jim Murphy to choose between Brown and Purnell.

Mandelson's one-time protege Purnell was condemned to walk into the wilderness with a flea in his ear. Mandelson's reward was an elevated dual role as First Secretary of State, the Prime Minister's deputy. The likeable Alan Johnson accepting the Home Office nailed down the PM's biggest rival.

Otherwise the Cabinet reshuffle failed to set pulses racing. Telling soon-to-be Lord Sugar "You're hired" is to risk trouble for the sake of a fast headline.

Alistair Darling remaining Chancellor after the PM had pencilled in Ed Balls underlined the limit of his authority. But a reprieved PM will have only himself to blame if he doesn't speedily clean up politics over expenses.

Hastening the British end of a global recession would be a Gord send to families.

Saying you're the right man heading the right team is one thing, delivering that is another. He's defeated ultraBlairites who sneaked around in the Parliamentary undergrowth.

In the Third World there's tanks on the streets when cliques try to overthrow a leader. Here, the battle was fought in newspapers, TV and cyberspace.

Today Brown will lay a wreath in France to commemorate the DDay landings of June 6, 1944.

Yesterday, surviving his own longest day was a political feat that gives the PM his umpteenth chance. Let's hope he takes it.
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jun 6, 2009
Words:361
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