Brown faces MPs amid backstabbing

Prime Minister Gordon Brown will seek to regain the political initiative tomorrow after a week of turmoil surrounding his leadership by addressing MPs on his plans to clean up Parliament.

Mr Brown will update the House of Commons on progress towards the introduction of an independent regulator for Parliament in the wake of the scandal over MPs' expenses, his spokesman said today.



The move - designed to show Mr Brown has a forward-looking agenda on one of the key causes for voter disillusionment with politics - came as Foreign Secretary David Miliband declared that Labour had "settled" its leadership question.



In an attempt to draw a line under the failed efforts to oust Mr Brown, Mr Miliband said that even the "leading contender" to replace the PM, Home Secretary Alan Johnson, was backing him "to the hilt".



Mr Miliband said that when news came through of James Purnell's resignation from the Cabinet on Thursday night, he immediately assured Business Secretary Lord Mandelson that he would not follow his exit.



However, he dodged the question of whether he "flirted" with the idea of resignation, saying only: "Flirtation is dangerous for married men, I'm not going to get into that."



Mr Purnell today insisted he stood by his call for Mr Brown to stand down to give Labour "a fighting chance" in the general election expected next year.



Despite failing to trigger a walk-out of senior Cabinet ministers, he said he did not regret quitting as Work and Pensions Secretary, adding: "I said what I said, I stand by it."



Mr Miliband told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "The Parliamentary Labour Party has reached a settled view about the leadership. The Labour Party does not want a new leader, there is no vacancy, there is no challenger.



"The leading contender, Alan Johnson, is backing the Prime Minister to the hilt. So that is that."



He added: "I always believed that the right thing to do was to remain in the Cabinet.



"I was clear that the right thing to do was to make sure that all of my energies were dedicated to making sure there was a progressive, clear, strong Labour project at the next election."



Mr Miliband admitted the odds were "stacked against" Labour winning a fourth term in office.



His comment about Mr Johnson will raise questions at Westminster over whether the Foreign Secretary - suspected last year of planning a leadership bid - has given up his own ambitions to succeed Mr Brown.



The immediate threat to Mr Brown's position receded today after he faced down backbench critics at a make-or-break meeting of the PLP last night.



Despite catastrophic results in European and council elections and a string of ministerial resignations, only a handful of MPs called for him to quit, after a speech in which he admitted to "weaknesses" and promised a fresh approach and new policies.



The Prime Minister was today able to complete his ministerial reshuffle without further resignations, and brought Shahid Malik back into his Government as a junior communities minister after the Dewsbury MP was cleared by an inquiry of irregularities relating to his housing arrangements.



Mr Brown today chaired the first meeting of the National Democratic Renewal Council, set up to develop policies for reform of Parliament following the expenses scandal.



Tomorrow's statement will spell out the Government's position on issues ranging from a new code of conduct for MPs to strengthening the role of parliamentary select committees in scrutinising the executive, as well as looking at the wider debates on reform of the House of Lords and the modernisation of voting methods for Westminster elections.



Mr Brown is likely to unveil legislation to end the system of parliamentary self-regulation and create a statutory independent parliamentary standards authority, so that MPs will no longer decide their own pay and expenses.



As well as moves on democratic reform, attention will focus on any signs of a new approach by the Prime Minister following last night's humble address to the PLP.



There are expectations of an inquiry into the Iraq War and a compromise over the part-privatisation of Royal Mail to be announced soon in a bid to win over disgruntled Labour backbenchers.



Labour's annual conference in September could yet become the focus of any further uprising against Mr Brown, should the party's fortunes fail to improve by then.



New Culture Secretary Ben Bradshaw said today that Mr Brown had acknowledged that the style of his leadership needs to change.



"I think he has acknowledged that the way that Number 10 has been operating has not been in the interests either of him or of the Labour Government, that he needs to behave in a more collegiate way," said Mr Bradshaw.



And Scottish Secretary Jim Murphy urged the PM's advisers to stop trying to "turn him into something that he's not" with ideas like having him discuss his taste in music in public.



"He should leave the superficial spin and nonsense to David Cameron and concentrate on what he's great at, which is being a man of substance dealing with the enormous challenges our country faces today and in the future," said Mr Murphy.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living