Will Nigel Griffiths have time to back another political horse if Gordon Brown stumbles before the leadership election

When he was the construction minister Nigel Griffiths was always very forward at telling us how connected he was. The line was that he was batting for the industry across Whitehall and that he was a ‘great networker’.

The spin was even more intense, insisting that Griffiths was one of Gordon’s men with the implication being he had influence at the very top.

Furthermore, Griffiths seemed to style himself on the Chancellor, he shared not only a resemblance to the chancellor but also his mannerisms. Indeed, one leading industry figure once described him to me as an ‘acolyte’ of Brown.

So how interesting it was then to see Griffiths on Newsnight last week being questioned about the prime minister’s departure from office. For those who missed it, the Newsnight reporter had a sticker board upon which delegates could predict when they believed Blair would leave office. When Nigel Griffiths was asked the question, he took the sticker and tried to stick it on the reporter’s nose, joking that ‘it wouldn’t be very good for his career.’

The result of the pending Labour leadership election will probably determine whether Griffiths will continue to style himself on his fellow Scot.