Pre-conference double blow hits Brown
Gordon Brown has been dealt a double blow to his authority just days before the start of Labour’s crucial annual conference.
The Prime Minister faced renewed calls to stand down as leader from the former Home Secretary, Charles Clarke, while he was also rocked by the resignation of a Government aide over Baroness Scotland’s breach of immigration laws.
Mr Clarke, a leading critic of the Prime Minister within Labour’s ranks, called on Mr Brown to step down “for his own dignity” as he delivered a damning assessment of the party’s prospects if a new leader was not installed.
He said that Labour had been overtaken by a “sense of impending defeat” and could lose as many as 150 seats, a result that could leave the party deeply divided and wallowing on the opposition benches for a generation. “Are we just going to stand by and watch the whole Labour ship crash on to the rocks of May 2010?” he said. “Those who believe there is some kind of pendulum where we go out this year and come back next are completely and utterly wrong.”
In a speech delivered last night, Mr Clarke said that many in his party were “failing to face up to the grave situation” which Labour faced in the polls. “Our leadership is weak, uncertain, tactically unsure and lacks vision,” he said. “A resounding defeat of the type many predict if we fail to change our approach would lead to a real collapse of our Party, which would have few resources and all the potential for bitter internecine conflict following defeat.”
The broadside came as Stephen Hesford, an aide to the Government’s law officers, quit the post in protest at the Attorney General’s breach of immigration laws that she had been responsible for guiding through Parliament. Lady Scotland was fined £5,000 after employing a Tongan housekeeper who had no right to work in the UK, but was allowed to keep her job by Mr Brown. In his letter of resignation to the Prime Minister, Mr Hesford said that though he had “great personal regard” for Baroness Scotland, he could not “support the decision which allows her to remain in office”.
“In my view the facts of the case do not matter,” Mr Hesford said. “It is the principle which counts, particularly at a time when the public's trust of Whitehall is uncertain to say the least. We have to be seen to be accountable.” It is the latest in a string of low level resignations that have chipped away at Mr Brown’s authority. Eric Joyce resigned over the Government’s strategy in Afghanistan last month, while other aides have resigned over the treatment of the Gurkhas and the decision to push ahead with a third runway at Heathrow.
However, the Prime Minister brushed off the questions over his leadership. “Of course I’m going on,” he said in an interview with the New Statesman. “I mean, for goodness sake, I wouldn’t be having this interview with you if I wasn't determined to get my message across to the British people. I hope that people will see by my actions the determination I have to work not just on behalf of the Labour Party but on the behalf of the British people.”
- 1 Secret Cinema interview: Why were Back to the Future screenings cancelled?
- 2 Christians: The world's most persecuted people
- 3 Israel-Gaza conflict: The secret report that helps Israelis to hide facts
- 4 Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
- 5 Iraq crisis: End 'very near' for Christianity after Isis takeover, says Bishop
Israel-Gaza conflict: John Prescott condemns bombardment of Gaza as a 'war crime'
Thatcher ‘was warned of Tory child sex party claims’
Israel-Gaza conflict: President Obama presses Netanyahu to call ‘immediate and unconditional’ Gaza ceasefire
Lauren Goodger calls for tougher laws on revenge porn after sex tape leaks online
Iraq crisis: End 'very near' for Christianity after Isis takeover, says Bishop
Israel-Gaza conflict: The secret report that helps Israelis to hide facts
A day in the life of Vladimir Putin: The dictator in his labyrinth
Opponents of Israel's military operation in Gaza are the real enemies of Middle Eastern peace
Were 'Poor Doors' added to mixed developments so wealthy residents don't have to go in alongside social housing tenants?
Arizona execution lasts two hours as killer Joseph Wood left 'snorting and gasping' for air
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Massive rise in sale of British arms to Russia
£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Would you like to wo...
£28000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Training/Learning and Development Co...
£28000 - £32000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Training Programme Manage...
£32000 - £35000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...