There are more negative headlines for the beleagured British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, just a week before his party’s annual conference.
Twelve of his Labour MPs, including former Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt, have signed an article in a party magazine, calling for Labour to renew its strategy and restore confidence in the economy. It came just a day after Brown fired a minister who became the first in the government to call for a leadership contest.
Siobhain McDonagh, a former junior minister and assistant Labour whip, said: “I thought, ‘I can’t keep my head down, I can’t say nothing.’ I knew that by the end of the day I might be sacked. It’s a price well worth paying. I don’t regret it.”
Some in the Labour party are trying to play down the significance of McDonagh’s call for a leadership contest. Labour MP Emily Thornberry said: “She’s never been Gordon Brown’s biggest fan. She was one of the few people who didn’t sign his nomination papers, so it’s no great surprise.”
However, commentators say the latest criticism is a setback for Brown, who has been struggling to turn around low ratings and relaunch his premiership after a series of stinging election defeats.
And they say speculation about a challenge from someone like Foreign Secretary David Miliband is likely to continue.