Rebel Labour MPs say Gordon Brown must go, Blears, Purnell resign
Rebel Labour MPs have started a petition to persuade 80 Labour MPs in the UK to sign a letter asking Gordon Brown to step down as Prime Minister of Britain, and they plan to hand it to Mr. Brown after the results of the local and European elections come in on Monday morning.
The rebel MPs think they can get about 70 or 80 signatures, which would meet the 20% requirement of the parliamentary party to issue a challenge to the Prime Minister.
They plan to hand out an e-mail address to which other MPs could send an e-mail saying they support Brown standing down, and this letter with all the signatures would go 'live' Monday morning, however some are claiming that it could be as early as tonight.
Some backbenchers have seen the letter and are not signing it on account of a perception that the names already on the list are "too leftwing".
The rebels are deeply irritated that news of the plot has emerged, knowing that the charge of disloyalty ahead of the elections will dissuade as many as a score of backbenchers from joining their ranks.
On Monday 50 MPs had agreed to sign such a letter, but they fear that an exposure of any 'plot' could sway voters to be sympathetic to Brown.
Hazel Blears meanwhile has stumped the Labour Party by resigning from her post on the Cabinet on the evening before the local and European elections.
It is said the Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary, is also going to stand down.
But whereas Ms Smith had been prepared to hang on until a reshuffle, Ms Blears announced her resignation less than two hours before Prime Minister's Questions and a day ahead of elections directly relating to her job.
Tory leader David Cameron said he sees it as a direct challenge to Brown's authority.
James Purnell has also resigned from Brown's Cabinet and is saying that Brown should step down if Labour wants a win.
Mr Purnell, 39, told The Daily Telegraph that his move was not “a plot” and that he had not told other Cabinet ministers that he intended to stand down.
However, his exit could open the floodgates and lead other MPs and ministers to demand that Mr Brown goes.
Mr Purnell said he would not be a candidate in any leadership election.