Geoff Hoon and Patricia Hewitt call for ballot on Gordon Brown's leadership
The former Chief Whip and Health Secretary have written to all Labour MPs this morning calling for a secret ballot on Gordon Brown's leadership. Unbelievable stuff for such senior party figures to be renewing the efforts to oust Brown this near to the general election.
More to follow shortly.
Guido has posted the devastating full text of their letter:
As we move towards a General Election it remains the case that the Parliamentary Labour Party is deeply divided over the question of the leadership. Many colleagues have expressed their frustration at the way in which this question is affecting our political performance. We have therefore come to the conclusion that the only way to resolve this issue would be to allow every member to express their view in a secret ballot.
This could be done quickly and with minimum disruption to the work of MPs and the Government. Whatever the outcome the whole of the party could then go forward, knowing that this matter had been sorted out once and for all.
Strong supporters of the Prime Minister should have no difficulty in backing this approach. There is a risk otherwise that the persistent background briefing and grumbling could continue up to and possibly through the election campaign, affecting our ability to concentrate all of our energies on getting our real message across.
Equally those who want change, should they lose such a vote, would be expected by the majority of the PLP to devote all of their efforts to winning the election. The implications of such a vote would be clear â everyone would be bound to support the result.
This is a clear opportunity to finally lay this matter to rest. The continued speculation and uncertainty is allowing our opponents to portray us as dispirited and disunited. It is damaging our ability to set out our strong case to the electorate. It is giving our political opponents an easy target.
In what will inevitably be a difficult and demanding election campaign, we must have a determined and united parliamentary party. It is our job to lead the fight against our political opponents. We can only do that if we resolve these distractions. We hope that you will support this proposal.
TCH attempting to do something for the country? Almost makes you feel sorry for the idiot being stabbed in the back by that poisonous little rat.
I'd like to say Brown deserves everything he gets and he certainly deserves any ill fortune that comes his way but as he also gets and will continue to get shed loads of our money which he does not deserve at all.
Remind me which one is Hewitt? I get confused about Labour's row of non entities.
Hoon's last stand. This is a real interesting development.
Hoon is very clear that if those who have spoken privately, speak out then the Labour Party will be under new Leadership.
Interesting on several levels - consider the Iraq Inquiry.
Buff was of course the SoS Defence for a key period of time, and will be giving evidence soon. If Brown were ousted now, he'd be able to give evidence around the same time (as opposed to waiting until he's out of office).