Politics: MPs keep pressure on Brown

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More than 100 Labour MPs have signed a private letter urging Gordon Brown to postpone plans to cut lone parents' benefits, it was reported last night.

The move came after Mr Brown confirmed his intention to go ahead with the cuts in Tuesday's budget statement. It was designed to allow backbenchers to express their reservations privately.

Several MPs have publicly criticised the government's plans. But some of the 80 who signed a motion calling for a full inquiry into their impact on children decided to withdraw after being leaned on by party whips. The latest move appears to have been successful in persuading them that they should voice their concerns, according to today's Scotsman newspaper.

The letter urges Mr Brown to postpone his planned benefit cuts until ministers have assessed whether lone parents have been helped by new proposals on jobs and child care.