Deal or no deal: What next for Labour?
Three of the architects of New Labour - Gordon Brown, Peter Mandelson, Alastair Campbell - were locked in Downing Street this afternoon discussing what the prime minister should do next and how to respond to the pressures on him.
One group in the cabinet is arguing that the Tories won the election, that they could govern as a minority as Harold Wilson did and that Labour should relish going into opposition in such a strong position.
Another larger group argues that if there is a chance of forming a "progressive alliance", Labour should take it. It is clear, though, that the presence of Brown is a block to any such deal. Thus, what is being discussed is for the prime minister to announce his intention to resign after seeing through the transition to a new coalition government, managing the current economic crisis and passing the instant legislation he promised to change the voting system. Those proposing this solution argue that it allows Labour to say that the Lib Dems aren't choosing their leader while meeting their demands for a change.
All this, of course, will only matter if the Lib Dems don't do the deal with the Conservatives and there is a growing sense in Labour's high command that Clegg and Cameron will reach some sort of agreement. Therefore, Messrs Brown, Mandelson and Campbell will also have been talking about how and when Gordon Brown should resign as PM and how to manage the succession.
So, after 48 hours of private talks, the next 48 hours could see the resignation of the prime minister, the arrival of a new one and the start of a Labour leadership contest. Er, or not?