Nigel Morris: This could be the knock-out blow for a PM on the ropes

Share
Related Topics

Crewe and Nantwich falls into Tory hands for the first time in half a century. Labour comes fifth in Henley. More than 300 Labour councillors are kicked out of office in town hall elections and Boris Johnson takes control of London. Labour's opinion poll support crashes to an historic low of less than 25 per cent. How could it get any worse for Gordon Brown?

But it did get worse in the small hours today when the SNP's stunning by-election victory in the former Labour fiefdom of Glasgow East was confirmed. And just as the Prime Minister should have been relaxing in his Suffolk holiday home, it could be about to get worse still.

He faces a torrid session at Labour's national policy forum today, where party activists and union leaders will be wondering what the point is of drawing up policies when they look doomed to election defeat. His meeting with Barack Obama tomorrow will also provide a cruel contrast between a president-in-waiting and a Prime Minister heading for the exit. Mr Brown will face a fresh round of questions over his chances of surviving until the end of the year.

Before the Glasgow East result was declared there were already subtle signs of Cabinet manoeuvrings. Labour backbenchers – many of whom had witnessed for themselves the mixture of hostility and indifference to the party on Glasgow's doorsteps – left for the parliamentary recess this week in disillusioned mood. The gloomy whisperings will intensify when they return from their Cornish beaches and Tuscan villas. Given the murderous mood of the electorate, even those Labour MPs with apparently comfortable majorities could be facing the dole in less than two years' time. They know there is little chance of an economic recovery boosting their electoral prospects as all the signs are that the slowdown will continue and perhaps worsen.

Many will wonder whether their desperate last throw of the dice could be to change leader. The mechanism for setting that process in train is unclear, requiring a succession of MPs to go public in their demands for Mr Brown to step down or for a delegation of party chiefs to tell the PM that his days are up.

Mr Brown is a famously resilient politician and his allies will close ranks around him. But it could be that the voters of Glasgow's East End have struck a fatal blow to his hopes of remaining much longer in No 10.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Senior Network Engineer - London - £70,000

£60000 - £70000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An excellent opportunity ...

Ashdown Group: Senior Systems Administrator - London - £50,000

£40000 - £50000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Systems Administra...

Recruitment Genius: Communications and External Affairs Assistant

£24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Communications and External Affairs As...

Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst- (Customer Support) - £29,000

£29000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst- (Customer Suppor...

Day In a Page

Read Next
A mother and her child  

50 signs that we need to stop spreading the myth of the 'ideal mother'

Victoria Richards
The top ten places where people are most likely to catch an STI have been revealed  

Surveys of people’s sex lives: how do we know what to believe?

Simon Kelner
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
Diego Costa: Devil in blue who upsets defences is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

Devil in blue Costa is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

The Reds are desperately missing Luis Suarez, says Ian Herbert
Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Former one-day coach says he will ‘observe’ their World Cup games – but ‘won’t be jumping up and down’
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness