Britain’s Labour government is refusing to quit despite its worst electoral score for almost a century.
With just 15 percent of the national vote in the European elections, Prime Minister Gordon Brown was under more pressure to stand down. But he managed to convince a majority of his party’s MPs at a crisis meeting on Monday that a new leadership contest would not end their problems. Some of Brown’s crew though, like his Environment Minister, are still jumping ship. Jane Kennedy explained to reporters her decision to leave the cabinet on Monday morning: “When you reach the point where you know you can’t do an interview like this and say, hand on heart with all honesty, that Gordon Brown is the right person to lead the Labour Party, then I knew I could not stay in government,” she said. The opposition Conservatives won the European elections in unspectacular fashion, gaining just one seat. Labour’s more dramatic freefall is making Conservative leader David Cameron’s job of attacking Labour a much easier one. Celebrating his party finishing first in Wales for the first time in nine decades, Cameron said: “We have, mirroring the weakness of our Prime Minister, the ineffectiveness of those who are trying to get rid of him. We have an extraordinary situation where he can’t seem to reshuffle his cabinet but they can’t seem to organise a coup. They are, if you like, locked together in this sort of slow dance of political death that is so bad for our country.” Labour’s problems don’t end with the Tories; they were pushed into third place by the anti-EU UKIP. UKIP leader Nigel Farage took no mercy on the Prime Minister, saying after his party matched Labour’s 13 European parliament seats: “I now think that Gordon Brown’s humiliation is such that I hope and believe that it is UKIP that would have delivered the coup de grace and I have no doubt that collecting backbencher’s signatures to get rid of him will now become very much easier indeed.” Gordon Brown has just over a year before he must face a general election but with his leadership seriously undermined by events, the vultures are already circling.