Charles Clarke: 'Gordon Brown should quit with dignity'

Gordon Brown should find a way of resigning to boost Labour's chances of winning the next general election, former home secretary Charles Clarke said today.

An outspoken critic of the Prime Minister, Mr Clarke told the London Evening Standard he hoped rumours Mr Brown would quit - perhaps on health grounds - would come true.

"I don't think Gordon will lead Labour into the next election," he said.

"I think his own dignity ought to look to that kind of solution."

Mr Clarke described the Downing Street operation as "the weakest I've ever seen in my life" and said there were four or five Cabinet members capable of leading the party.

He predicted that Labour could be out of office for 10 to 15 years if it approached the next election with an air of fatalism and an acceptance that it is the Tories' turn for a period in power.

And he issued a rallying cry for someone to come forward to dislodge Mr Brown, saying: "I said to the PLP (Parliamentary Labour Party) that I believe he should go and I haven't changed my mind.

"People have to make their judgments ... and that certainly applies to members of the current Cabinet and MPs.

"Are we just going to stand by and watch the whole Labour ship crash on to the rocks of May 2010 and sink for a very long time? Or are we going to try and do what we can to stop that happening?"

Mr Clarke's comments come ahead of a speech he will deliver to Blairite group Progress, setting out his vision for how Labour can win the next election.

The Norwich South MP, 59, served as home secretary between 2004 and 2006, having previously held a number of Government positions including education and skills secretary.

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