News of the world poll reveals PM Gordon Brown’s top men face election disaster if he isn’t ousted


SENIOR Cabinet Ministers in Gordon Brown’s new Government will lose their seats at a General Election – unless they ditch him.

A poll of voters in crucial constuencies shows SEVEN ministers who have backed the PM will be kicked out by the electorate.

The exclusive News of the World ICM poll tested opinion in the 18 Parliamentary seats represented by the main members of the Cabinet, including Mr Brown’s own backyard.

It is the first poll to show how voters will behave in a General Election against the backdrop of the expenses scandal, political in-fighting and a string of resignations.

And it reveals that previously loyal Labour supporters, in previously safe seats, want Brown OUT.

The swing of 12 per cent from Labour to the Tories will be enough to overturn majorities and unseat seven Cabinet Ministers, the same number Labour managed to kick out when they beat the Tories in 1997.

Those who will be out on their ears include Chancellor Alistair Darling, Justice Secretary Jack Straw, Work and Pensions Secretary John Denham, Olympics Minister Tessa Jowell and Scottish supremo Jim Murphy.

Two of the new recruits to the Cabinet appointed on Friday- Culture Secretary Ben Bradshaw and Chief Secretary to the Treasury Liam Byrne-will also be dumped.

And four of the Cabinet Ministers who resigned last week-Jacqui Smith, James Purnell, Geoff Hoon and John Hutton-will get the chop as constituency MPs too.

Most members of the Cabinet have safe seats, with majorities averaging 7,000. But our poll reveals they are now under intense pressure from their own powerbase to move against Gordon Brown.

It also shows almost three-quarters of Cabinet Ministers’ voters, an overwhelming 74 per cent, believe it is now time for a change.

Most of those expressing an opinion-50 per cent of the voters- say they want their MP to tell Gordon Brown to stand down.

Less than half (46 per cent) of voters who backed Tony Blair in 2005 would support Gordon Brown in a General Election.

Nearly two-thirds, a huge 58 per cent, of the electorate in previously safe Labour seats, think Gordon Brown is doing a poor job.

Almost a third, 31 per cent, will not vote at all in a General Election because of their anger over the expenses revelations.

Today’s poll also shows that support for the Tories in Cabinet members’ own constituencies has shot up by 20 per cent since the 2005 election.

SENIOR Cabinet Ministers in Gordon Brown¿s new Government will lose their seats at a General Election ¿ unless they ditch him.

Conservative Leader David Cameron is now clearly heading for a massive landslide, with the most recent national poll showing he would sweep up 158 seats. Those polled by ICM said they believe Cameron has the best ideas for cleaning up the system.

Labour’s vote has dropped by 17 per cent while the Lib Dems have managed to hold on to their support, falling by just one per cent. Support for minority parties has gone up nine per cent.

On Friday night Gordon Brown insisted he was staying on as Prime Minister, saying he was best qualified to sort out the political crisis.

The scale of the damage caused by the expenses scandal is clear, with a massive 82 per cent of people saying they want their local MP to stand down if he or she cheated the system over exes.

Little more than a quarter of those polled, 27 per cent, want their current MP to stand again – with 40 per cent demanding a new Labour candidate.

Only a third of voters are happy to wait until June next year for a chance to vote, which clearly shows Cameron’s strategy of demanding an election now is paying off.

Labour’s figure of 46 per cent of those who backed them in 2005 sticking with them compares to 51 per cent for the Lib Dems and 74 per cent for the Tories.

ICM interviewed a random sample of 1,248 adults aged 18 or over across the 18 constituencies represented by main Cabinet Ministers as at Wednesday last week.

Interviews were conducted by phone and the results have been weighted to the demographic profile of adults in those constituencies.

Another 245 interviews were done in Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath to allow analysis of the views of 301 voters in Gordon Brown’s constituency.

ANOTHER poll has confirmed that Labour Party members no longer have confidence in Mr Brown’s leadership.

In a damning verdict for Channel 4 News, most think he should step down before the next election-and more than one in five think he should go now.

Two-thirds believe he is unable to communicate his ideas effectively to the public and almost half think he is weak and indecisive.

REAL story behind the reshuffle

By Ian Kirby

THE Downing Street make-up artist applied an extra thick layer of “pancake” on Gordon Brown’s face as he waited to face the world at the end of the toughest 24 hours of his political life.

Meanwhile, ex-Europe Minister Caroline Flint branded the PM a “f****** b******” to aides as she stormed out of government.

Brown’s exhaustion and the former Blair babe’s rage summed up the chaos of the reshuffle.

Despite all claims to the contrary, there WAS a Cabinet plot to topple Brown. The real trouble started on Wednesday afternoon, when one of his staff called a friend of Pensions Secretary James Purnell to ask: “Would James like to go to Education?”

This call signalled that Schools Secretary Ed Balls-the man Blairites fear will wreck the government-was going to replace Alistair Darling as Chancellor . . . and the Labour Party would erupt into civil war.

On Thursday Purnell kept a mask on his emotions as he plotted a resignation he hoped would spark a revolution.

One of the first people he called was Foreign Secretary David Miliband, who also feared a move. Miliband even called in a favour from US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, who telephoned Brown and pleaded with him not to dump his Foreign Secretary.

After Purnell resigned, Miliband pledged his support following persuasion by Peter Mandelson. But it was a deal that smashed Gordon Brown’s plans for a wide-ranging reshuffle.

Bully

We can also reveal Flint’s stinging attack on Gordon Brown was TONED DOWN after other ex-Cabinet Ministers tried to calm her. And Downing Street tried to keep her resignation secret from reporters quizzing the PM.

Flint stormed out of the government on Friday and accused Brown of using women Ministers as “window dressing.” But words like “devious”, “bully” and “sexist pig” were floated.

The final text was only sent out after Jacqui Smith and Hazel Blears pleaded with her to tone it down. But the effect was still electric.

She raged: “You have a two-tier government. Several of the women attending cabinet-myself included-have been treated by you as little more than female window dressing.”

Inside Downing Street, aides had given reporters copies of the new Cabinet list. “Where’s Flint?”, we muttered. Number 10 had deliberately kept the development quiet.

But, seconds later, BlackBerries buzzed. “Why has Caroline Flint resigned and said you think women are window dressing?” demanded a reporter. Brown staggered back a step and muttered there were plenty of women in Cabinet.

But he saved his trump card for last. “Besides, I am delighted to announce we have a very strong candidate for Europe Minister, Glenys Kinnock,” he beamed.

News that the ex-MEP, wife of Labour’s disastrous leader Neil, was back showed Brown had run out friends.

“Are you telling us, you cannot find a single candidate to be Minister for Europe out of 350 MPs?” said one hack.

“Erm, yes” seemed to be the only answer from Downing Street. But Brown had

NewsOfTheWorld.co.uk

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