Former senior Cabinet ministers, Geoff Hoon and Patricia Hewitt, are calling for a secret ballot of Labour MPs over the question of Gordon Brown's leadership. The Guardian's report is HERE.
The letter, addressed to the authors' fellow Labour MPs, states:
'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.'
There are of course no discernible political differences between Brown and his critics, but this reflects the crisis inside the Parliamentary Labour Party, which in turn is based on awareness of how deeply unpopular the Brown government has become. Nobody can be sure how this will turn out, but it's likely Brown will survive as many MPs loyally rally round and say you can't rock the boat. However, the ensuing tensions - and the appearance of disunity and lack of faith in the leader - could finish off any desperate hopes Labour may still entertain of not being thoroughly beaten at the next election.