Paul Farrelly: Sadly, it's time for fresh air – Gordon must go

Analysis

Share
Related Topics

The scale of Labour's defeat in Staffordshire, one of the key battleground counties, is truly staggering. Out of 32 seats, we kept just three and took only 18 per cent of the vote.

Anyone who thinks the answer is to keep the faith and carry on regardless is indulging in wishful thinking. Now the leadership genie is out of the bottle again, the issue has to be sorted before the next general election.

Sadly, I agree with James Purnell's assessment. In the interests of the Labour Party, Gordon Brown should step down. We need a breath of fresh air to carry through much-needed change including the Westminster expenses system, regulation of financial markets, encouraging a more balanced economy and a sustainable, greener agenda.

What concerns me, too, is Gordon's machine style of politics. My opinions would usually be conveyed in private, but on Wednesday evening the Chief Whip, one of the PM's henchmen, gave my name to the media as a coup "ringleader".

It was totally untrue. I had never seen a round robin email. No one had canvassed me to sign a letter. The Chief Whip never bothered to speak to me.

True, on Wednesday afternoon, 10 Downing Street was ringing backbenchers. I was not hunkered down in a bunker, however, but out campaigning and could not immediately take the calls. I rang back twice, but clearly too late and my name was fed to the press pack.

It was disgraceful. I was furious and it distracted from Thursday's elections. But it was reminiscent of the crisis last summer when good people were hounded, and names trotted out to journalists to flush people out into reacting.

It left a sour taste last year, and it sullies a Labour Government now. The point is you cannot convincingly claim a moral compass, or "Presbyterian conscience", yet sanction this sort of behaviour. It's like pretending the Damian McBride email scandal, which revolted us all, never happened.

Labour now needs, clearly, to reconnect with voters we claim to represent. But, instead, this style of politics just turns people off.

My opinion, as a backbencher, is one of many. I am certainly not acting in a group. After counting has finished for the Euro elections on Sunday, what is important is that figures higher in the chain, right up to the Cabinet, reflect on the full extent of the 'people's verdict' – and on whether they are prepared to put up with this style of politics.

If there is a contest, we have to break out of the feuding between exclusive cliques. The Brownite-Blairite battle has dominated too long. The Labour Party is owned by neither. It has also had enough. And now, for root and branch renewal, we need change right at the top.

Paul Farrelly is the Labour MP for Newcastle-under-Lyme and a former business editor of the 'Independent on Sunday'.

React Now

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

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Yvette Cooper campaigning in London at the launch of Labour’s women’s manifesto  

I want the Labour Party to lead a revolution in family support

Yvette Cooper
Liz Kendall  

Labour leadership contest: 'Moderniser' is just a vague and overused label

Steve Richards
Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine