Labour rot hits rank-and-file

Resentment against Gordon Brown has permeated even the rank-and-file of the Labour party, a new survey of party activists suggests.

A poll for Labourhome.org show a slim majority of activists – 54 per cent – would rather Mr Brown stepped down.

Forty-five per cent believed the party’s prospects would improve at the next general election if he stepped down, with 27 per cent thinking it would make no difference and 28 per cent believing it would make matters worse.

Mr Brown’s personal ratings are appalling, standing at 4.3 out of ten, with only Ruth Kelly, transport secretary, and Geoff Hoon, chief whip, less popular.

Harriet Harman, deputy leader and one of the figures touted as possible leader should any contest arise, belittled the results on last night’s Question Time, saying it was just “one poll”.

Her personal rating in the poll stands at 4.95 out of ten.

Should a leadership election occur, foreign secretary David Miliband is favourite to succeed Mr Brown, on 24.6 per cent. Alan Johnson, health secretary, follows on his heels on 18.1 per cent. Left-wing Labour backbencher, John Cruddas, who ran for deputy leader, stands on 11.3 per cent and justice secretary Jack Straw is on 9.6 per cent.

Alex Hilton, the editor of Labourhome.org, said urged a cautious reading of the results, saying the survey was conducted before Mr Brown stepped in to facilitate the Lloyds TSB-HBOS merger, to the applause of many financial commentators.

“It’s a real concern that a small majority of Labour members and supporters want Gordon Brown to step aside, though this poll was taken before it was clear the role the prime minister had played in the merger of Lloyds-TSB and HBOS,” he said

Labourhome is a netwrok of party activists, although it is not officially connected to the parliamentary party.