Glasgow East by-election: Prime Minister Brown dismisses leadership speculation
GORDON Brown brushed off the threat of a leadership challenge today after the disastrous defeat of Labour in the Glasgow East by-election.
The Prime Minister insisted that he was simply "getting on with the job" after seeing Labour's third safest seat in Scotland fall to the Scottish National Party with a massive 22% swing.
He said during a visit to the West Midlands: "My full focus is on taking people through these difficult times."
Mr Brown insisted that the Government was addressing public concerns about rising fuel and food prices.
"I know that people look to the Government to take the action that is necessary," he said.
"We are looking at everything we can so that, in what is a global problem, we can in Britain help people through these difficult times," he said.
The Prime Minister brushed aside a call by Tory leader David Cameron for him to go to the country and call a general election.
"I think my task is to get on with the job of taking us through these difficult economic times," he said.
He was equally dismissive of the prospect of a leadership challenge, saying: "I'm getting on with the job".
Nantwich by-election, its fifth place at Henley on Thames and its drubbing in the May local council elections, it was now clear that the country was fed up with the Government.
"I think the Prime Minister should have his holiday, but then I think we need an election. I think we need change in this country, and that's how change should come about," he said.
SNP deputy leader Nicola Sturgeon said that the result in Glasgow East – where a 13,507 Labour majority was wiped out – had been a "catastrophe" for Mr Brown.
"There is no doubt that Gordon Brown and Labour are deeply, deeply unpopular," she told BBC Radio Scotland's Good Morning Scotland.
Manchester Blackley MP Graham Stringer said that it was now up to members of the Cabinet to tell Mr Brown that the Government could not carry on as it is.
If necessary, he said, Cabinet ministers should be prepared to force the issue by standing against the Prime Minister in a leadership contest.
"It really requires members of the Cabinet to have a closed and honest discussion with Gordon Brown," he said.
"We need a new start and that can only come from a debate around the leadership. I hope those discussions will take place.
"It really is a question of whether the Labour Party has the will to win the next general election."
Mr Brown can expect some political breathing space with MPs dispersed for the long summer recess.
However, the focus will now shift to the party's annual conference in Manchester at the end of September where MPs and activists will assess the fallout from Mr Brown's string of electoral disasters.
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Wednesday 19 June 2013
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