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Brown defiant under pressure to quit

By Sarah Smith

Updated on 09 May 2010

A Labour leadership contest looks increasingly likely as Gordon Brown returns to London to meet with senior cabinet members, reports Sarah Smith. But in an email to supporters he insists his resolve has not changed.

Gordon Brown (Reuters)

Gordon Brown left his home in Fife to make his way back to London earlier today where he is meeting with senior members of his cabinet today.
When he left Downing Street yesterday to go home there was lots of instant speculation that he had left Number 10 for the last time. That he had slunk off to Scotland in order to avoid the spectacle of him leaving for the last time in the glare of publicity. Remember the tears in Margaret Thatcher's eyes as she finally moved out? But of course Brown was just nipping home to see the kids and go to church this morning.
He has to come back to London because he is still the prime minister. And no matter how much pressure there is on him to resign as leader of the Labour party, he cannot chose to resign as prime minister until it's been worked out who is going to replace him and he has no choice about making that short drive to Buckingham Palace to tell the Queen is no longer her PM.
There is speculation in Westminster he may say something when gets back to Downing Street but sources within his inner circle tell me that no decisions have been made yet about whether he will say anything at all today.

Brown's email to supporters
Gordon Brown has written to thank Labour supporters for their work in the election.

"The past few days have seen us enter a political landscape not considered possible a few short weeks ago - with the outcome of the election leading to no single party able to form a majority government.

"My duty as Prime Minister has been to seek to resolve this situation, but I also have another important role.

"As leader of the Labour Party I am writing to you to thank you for answering my call. We entered this poll knowing there were an unprecedented number of undecided voters.

"Over the course of the campaign you knocked on millions of doors, spoke to people in their homes, their workplaces and delivered tens of millions of leaflets.

"I could not have asked for a better or more dedicated team, but on polling day you excelled yourselves again - and the excellent results in so many of our most marginal seats are testament to that.

"Make no mistake, the voters who heard the case for Labour and chose to trust us with their vote - they heard it from you.

"This truly was the word of mouth election - whether face to face, via their own communities or online, people heard our message above the roar of a hostile media and a very well funded opposition."

"My resolve has not, and will not, change. I pledged to do everything in my power to fight for the people of this country - to secure the recovery, to protect their livelihoods and to continue to fight for a future fair for all.

"Let us not forget the passion of the hundreds of thousands of activists who took pride in Labour's record, and our vision for the future and then with unparalleled conviction acted upon it."

He sent an email to Labour supporters earlier today thanking them for their support and hard work but he ended the message in a defiant manner saying:

"My resolve has not, and will not, change. I pledged to do everything in my power to fight for the people of this country - to secure the recovery, to protect their livelihoods and to continue to fight for a future fair for all."

But that hasn't stopped some of his own MPs calling for his head.

The former sports minister Kate Hoey has been demanding the resignation of Gordon Brown today.

"I think he must go and I don't think we will have renewal until we get a new leader," she said.

Like John Mann MP who yesterday also called for Brown to go, she said it was hard on the doorsteps persuading people to vote Labour whilst he was the leader.

But she did admit it would be difficult for him to go right now - in the middle of a constitutional crisis - but says he should announce his intention to quit.
Senior Labour MPs who have been making the rounds, offering great things to any Lib Dem who might be prepared to start negotiating with them, have made it pretty clear that if Gordon Brown's head is the price of any deal then it's a price they are prepared to pay.
It can't be long before we all start speculating intensely about a Labour leadership contest. The only question is whether they will be running to become prime minister or leader of the opposition.

Poll: public wants Brown to go

A YouGov poll in today's Sunday Times found that 62 per cent of voters believe Brown should have accepted defeat on Friday with just 28 per cent saying he was right to hang on, writes Channel 4 News.

Just under half - 48 per cent - of those questioned said the new government should be led by the Conservatives - either in a minority administration or at the head of a coalition. Nearly a third - 31 per cent - preferred a Labour/Lib Dem alliance of some form.

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