21 JUNE 1963, Page 9

A Spectator's Notebook

IHE Labour Party leaders must have been relieved that attention was firmly fixed on the Prime Minister and his troubles last Monday for in less stirring times their own differences might have made a headline or two, I gather that the bother was, of all things, over who should wind up for the Opposition in the Prof umo debate. The obvious candidate was the Deputy leader, Mr. George Brown, but Mr. Bowden, the Labour Chief Whip, apparently reported that there was a feeling among back-benchers that Mr. Wilson should wind up himself as well as opening. The situation was complicated even further by the fact that Mr. Patrick Gordon-Walker, the Shadow Foreign Secretary was also very keen to do the lob and had the practical pull of having been in Moscow with Mr. Wilson during the crisis while Mr. Brown was in Washington. A two-hour wrangle in the Shadow Cabinet on Monday morning failed to resolve the argument and it was Only during the course of the afternoon that it was settled through Mr. Brown sticking by his rights. How many winding up speeches were in fact composed I do not know but the government Must have regretted that someone else did not win the argument, for Mr. Brown's speech was one of the best of the day, and all the more effective

its ts moderation and lack of fireworks.