Nicholas Leonard: He escaped last week's poorly planned coup, but Brown remains a vulnerable figure
The British prime minister, Gordon Brown, is lurching from crisis to crisis as the general election campaign of 2010 gets under way. He is not quite as close to his political 'use-by date' as Peter Robinson in Belfast but the end of his career in Westminster is only a few months away.
Brown yesterday brushed off the inept attempt by two second-rate former cabinet colleagues to mount a coup against him last week as "a form of silliness", but the near-farcical episode underlined the fragility of his grip on power within his own government.
Subtly orchestrated by Peter Mandelson, almost all of his most important ministers were quick to signal that they shared the public's disillusionment with Brown but were not going to get rid of him until after the election.