The departures of five senior cabinet colleagues, including Transport Minister Geoff Hoon, have dealt a heavy blow to an already beleagured British prime minister. Defence Secretary John Hutton also stood down along with junior minister Caroline Flint as calls grew within Labour for Brown to go.
Pensions minister James Purnell quit saying Brown’s continued leadership would make a Labour defeat at the next election more likely. The reshuffle was meant to steady the ship and Brown loyalists were firmly standing by their leader. Foreign Secretary David Miliband said: “I think that Britain needs strong and progressive government more than ever, and I think that the prime minister and the rest of us have a big responsibility to provide that, and that applies on the domestic scene and the international scene.” The days local government election results confirmed the government’s unpopularity with the electorate. The opposition Conservatives were the main winners. Their leader, David Cameron said: “We need a government that is strong, that is united, that has a purpose, instead we have a government in complete chaos, we really do deserve better than this, and I believe that all roads now, fairly, should lead to a general election,” Analysts say the cabinet reshuffle may have bought the prime minister some time, but he remains under intense from his political opponents and now from within his own party.