Labour in civil war as rebels attempt to remove Gordon Brown
rahul | September 13, 2008 at 05:14 pmby
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Just as Tories did to Maggie Thatcher in the past, Labour rebels MP gather to plot on the removal of imcumbent Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Apparently, the 45 rebel labour MP are led by Jim Dowd and Mr Stringer.
By Patrick Hennessy and Melissa Kite, Last Updated: 12:56AM BST 14 Sep 2008. Rebel Labour MPs are attempting to remove Gordon Brown from power by provoking a "putsch" against the Prime Minister from inside the Cabinet. They claim that up to 45 MPs are prepared to put their names to the move against Mr Brown, which would place him under severe pressure in the run-up to Labour's annual conference, beginning in Manchester on Saturday. That would still be some way short of the 71 needed to force a contest. Leading opponents of Mr Brown said that their aim was to provoke a "substantial minority" of Cabinet ministers, numbering up to 10, into telling the Prime Minister: "The game is up." Their tactics came to light as the revolt against Mr Brown gathered pace, with eight MPs publicly calling for a leadership contest. Labour's high command hit back swiftly. One of the rebels, Joan Ryan, was stripped of her roles as the Government's envoy to Cyprus and as the party's vice-chairman. The eight who have spoken out are Ms Ryan, Siobhain McDonagh, George Howarth, Fiona Mctaggart, Janet Anderson, Graham Stringer, Gordon Prentice and John McDonnell. Ray Collins, Labour's general secretary, said that he would not issue nomination papers, needed for a leadership challenge, to all MPs because the party's conventions did not allow it. MPs will have to request the papers individually. So far nine have asked for nomination papers, four of whom have stated they have done so: Ms McDonagh, Ms Ryan, Mr Howarth and Ms Mactaggart. Another, Ms Anderson, has said that she will do so. The Sunday Telegraph understands that two MPs seen as "ringleaders" of the plot, Jim Dowd and Mr Stringer, are also among the nine. Others identified by senior party sources as having requested papers include Frank Field, Greg Pope and Barry Gardiner. Most of the group are former supporters of Tony Blair. Ms Ryan, a former Home Office minister, said: "I think we need to have a leadership election to trigger a deep and far-reaching debate." She said a "huge number" of Labour MPs agreed with her. Other rebel leaders put the total of those who would go public at 45. On Friday the first MP to come forward, Ms McDonagh, was fired as a junior whip. A former minister said: "There is a group in the Cabinet who are thinking about doing something. It is a substantial minority: more than two but fewer than 10." An MP close to Mr Brown described the plotters as "the same old Blairite names". There was some good news for Mr Brown, with the election of his favoured candidate, Iain Gray, as Scottish Labour leader, but a national opinion poll today shows Labour on 27 per cent, 19 points behind the Tories.
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