Rebel MPs plot anti-Brown protest at conference

Rebel Labour MPs who want to oust Gordon Brown are secretly discussing plans for at least one minister to speak out against the leadership before the party's conference in Manchester. He or she would then have to resign, undermining the Prime Minister's attempt to stabilise his position.

Another tactic being discussed is for a wave of resignations by ministers outside the Cabinet after the conference, at least three of whom are said to be considering their positions, and their parliamentary private secretaries. That would echo the so-called "curry house plot" by Brownites two years ago, when resignations forced Tony Blair to reveal his departure timetable.

However, Brown allies dismissed the threat, accusing a handful of MPs of trying to "destabilise" the Prime Minister so that they could claim he could no longer do his job effectively. Cabinet ministers who have doubts about Mr Brown are appealing to the rebels to call a truce so that Labour can unite at its conference. But the rebels made clear that they will not be silenced.

Even Brown loyalists are not giving him unconditional support. Douglas Alexander, the International Development Secretary, told the BBC that there was no significant support for a rival candidate, but admitted the idea that Mr Brown should carry on regardless was "not a universal view – a number have spoken out in recent days – but I am not convinced it is the right time".

Today, Labour's ruling national executive committee (NEC) will stave off one potential threat to the Prime Minister by rejecting calls by 12 MPs for all Labour MPs to be given nomination papers for a party leadership contest. Rebels had requested papers in the hope of staging a "vote of no confidence" in Mr Brown even if they fail to muster the 70 MPs needed for a named alternative to force a leadership election.

Ray Collins, Labour's general secretary, will say that such forms have not been issued since the party came to power in 1997, and so there is no case to change the policy now.

Janet Anderson, who represents Labour MPs on the NEC, will call for the nomination papers to be sent out, saying this is in line with the party's rulebook. She said yesterday: "We cannot go on 'sleepwalking to oblivion', but we are and we will continue to do so if we do nothing to address the reasons why we have been so far behind in the polls. That means a root-and-branch review of our policies and how we communicate this to voters. And if that requires a change of leadership, so be it."

Another critic, Barry Gardiner, lost his job as Mr Brown's special envoy on forestry after accusing him of "vacillation, loss of credibility and timorous political manoeuvres that the public cannot understand".

But Margaret Beckett, the former cabinet minister, warned: "The British people will neither understand nor forgive a party that appears to be more concerned with its own internal disputes than with their very real problems." John Denham, the Skills Secretary, accused the rebels of pursuing "the politics of despair and destruction" and said they would not persuade him or other cabinet ministers to move against Mr Brown.

Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave crime series
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
premier league
Mario Balotelli celebrates his first Liverpool goal
premier leagueLiverpool striker expressed his opinion about the 5-3 thriller with Leicester - then this happened
people'I hated him during those times'
Britain's shadow chancellor Ed Balls (L) challenges reporter Rob Merrick for the ball during the Labour Party versus the media soccer match,
peopleReporter left bleeding after tackle from shadow Chancellor in annual political football match
Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says
tvSpoiler warning: Star of George RR Martin's hit series says viewers have 'not seen the last' of him/her
Dame Vivienne Westwood has been raging pretty much all of her life
peopleMemoir extracts show iconic designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Life and Style
fashionAlexander Fury's Spring/Summer 2015 London Fashion Week roundup
Arts and Entertainment
Lauryn Hill performing at the O2 Brixton Academy last night
musicSinger was more than 90 minutes late on stage in Brixton show
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
people''Women's rights is too often synonymous with man-hating'
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Head of Marketing and Communications - London - up to £80,000

£70000 - £80000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Group Head of Marketing and Communic...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: Level 3 Nursery Nurse required for ...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: L3 Nursery Nurses urgently required...

SEN Teaching Assistant

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: We have a number of schools based S...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam