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Anti-Brown rebellion gathering momentum

PUBLISHED: 16:33 24 September 2008 | UPDATED: 10:40 12 August 2010

LABOUR politicians have revealed a divided front in the growing fracas surrounding Gordon Brown s premiership. This week saw a Labour minister resign, a senior party member sacked and a junior whip dismissed amidst growing calls for the Prime Minister to

LABOUR politicians have revealed a divided front in the growing fracas surrounding Gordon Brown's premiership.

This week saw a Labour minister resign, a senior party member sacked and a junior whip dismissed amidst growing calls for the Prime Minister to step aside.

The disastrous rebellion has gathered momentum after party chiefs refused to send out nomination papers to members ahead of the Labour Party conference on Saturday.

However whilst Labour MPs in south-east London have tried to keep a lid on the simmering uprising, party grassroots have called for new blood.

Former Orpington parliamentary candidate Chris Purnell said: "We need a leadership contest to bring life back into the party. We're in a ditch and the way out is not to dig down.

"If the unions grasp at the conference that they won't see change on the left without a leadership contest, then we might just get one."

Orpington Labour Party has avoided publicly backing Mr Brown by refusing to form an opinion on whether there should be a leadership contest.

However, Erith and Thamesmead MP John Austin has bluntly declared that a leadership challenge would be pointless and damaging for the party.

Mr Austin said: "It seems that some arch-Blairites would rather the Party lost the election rather than see Gordon Brown succeed."

The veteran MP, who once quipped that he would stand against Tony Blair in an election contest, said it was time for the party to unite behind Mr Brown during the credit crunch.

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