It Almost Happened Once
I once had a brief conversation with Gordon Brown as he moved from the Commons on to Bridge Street to cross the road. As he swung round on the end of the pavement after our brief chat, he all but ended up under the wheels of a double-decker bus.
I know that as Prime Minister he will never have to navigate the London traffic in that way, but has anyone given any thought as to what would happen if he otherwise died in office? When John Smith died as Opposition Leader, he was succeeded by Margaret Beckett who had been elected via Labour's Electoral College to the Deputy Leadership post. Later fresh elections occurred and Tony Blair took over.
But presumably as things stand , the Deputy Prime Minister will be expected to take over the Prime Minister's role for (at least) the interregnum until fresh Party elections can take place. It might place the interim Prime Minister in a strong position in the nomination and ballot stakes.
Jon Cruddas Gives Us A Problem
If Jon Cruddas wins the Deputy Leadership battle, he will refuse to take on board the Deputy Premiership role, which is quite reasonable given that he hasn't got any experience as a Cabinet Minister. So the Deputy will then be Gordon's nominee. Would Party members be happy with, say, Jack Straw becoming the interim Prime Minister, without them having had a say in his election?
Perhaps Jon Cruddas is doing us a disservice by doing away with our rights to determine who will be Labour's Parliamentary Deputy if we plump for him. Is it too late for him to pull out of the race?
On the other hand, we managed with John Prescott being only a heart-beat from the Premiership for 10 years, so perhaps I am worrying about nothing.