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FOR GORDS SAKE, GO

04-06-2009

The key question arising from today's European and local election isn't whether Labour will get a tonking - all that's in doubt is the scale of their humiliation. In the aftermath of defeat it will be tempting for Labour MPs to sign the letter calling for Gordon Brown to step down, but that would only prolong the agony for voters desperate for change.

If the anti-Brown plotters get more than 50 votes they say they'll publish the names of signatories - almost inevitably prompting a leadership challenge. But what authority would another Labour leader have to run the country? None whatsoever.

Let's not forget that Brown himself wasn't returned as PM by the public, and although there is a constitutional precedent for the handover of power from Tony Blair, a second change of the baton would surely lack any credibility in the eyes of the public. Especially as many of those who voted for GB's successor are unmistakably tainted by the expenses scandal.

A vote to replace one Labour failure with another would correctly be seen as an act of naked - and ultimately futile - self-preservation.

Nope. The solution is clear. If Labour suffers a catastrohic hammering at the hands of the electorate, the party should accept the will of the people for change. Brown should fall on his sword, resign as both PM and party leader, and allow one of his challengers to lead a reinvigorated party into electoral battle.

Defeat in those circumstances might be inevitable, but it would at least do something to restore the battered credibility of our political system.

Delay will either lead to more long drawn out pain for Labour (if Brown stays) or reduce still further parliament's standing in the eyes of the public (if he goes).

As Cromwell might have said, For Gords Sake Go - And Go Now.

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