Poll: Anyone is better than Brown

By politics.co.uk staff

Almost half of voters think that anyone from the Labour ranks could do a better job of leading the party than Gordon Brown.

A Populus poll for The Times has revealed that, with only nine months to go until a general election, only a third of voters believe that Mr Brown is the best leader for Labour.

Sixty-one per cent see him as a liability to Labour.

As the prime minister is due to address the TUC today, his party is on 27 per cent to the Conservatives’ 41 per cent – a gap which, at this late stage, no party in history has recovered from to win a general election.

But the Tories have less of a lead than Labour did before they won the election in 1996, or than the Thatcher administration did in 1978.

Although voters think he should be replaced, there is no consensus on who Mr Brown should be replaced by.

When asked to name a successor, without names being prompted, some 43 per cent of those polled said they didn’t know.

Of those able to think of alternative candidates, 13 per cent named David Miliband, 7 per cent named Harriet Harman, and 6 per cent cited Jack Straw or Alan Johnson.

However, among Labour voters Mr Miliband and Ms Harman are neck-and-neck on 12 per cent – and Peter Mandelson achieves a surprising ten per cent, even the peer is currently constitutionally unable to sit in both houses.

Bookmakers William Hill are offering odds of 5/4 that anyone other than Brown leads the party into the forthcoming general election.

“A lot of punters believe that anyone other than Brown will become Labour leader before the general election and three quarters of the bets we have taken in that market are for him to be out of office by then,” said Hill’s spokesman Graham Sharpe.

Mr Brown is due to use the dreaded c-word “cuts” for the first time during his speech at the TUC today.

The prime minister faces a tough test as rumours of public spending cuts have created an aura of suspicion between the government and unions.