Ex-ministers call for Brown ballot

Former health and defence ministers demand secret party vote on British PM's leadership.

    Hewitt, left, and Hoon, right, are seen as allies of Tony Blair, Brown's predecessor as prime minister [EPA]

    Awkward timing

    Brown has faced repeated rumours of a threat to his leadership since taking over from Tony Blair in 2007 but has held on to his role.

    His opponents within Labour say what they call his lacklustre leadership will ensure electoral defeat.

    Hewitt, a former health secretary, and Hoon, a former defence minister, who was also Labour's chief whip, said: "This is a clear opportunity to finally lay this matter to rest.

    "The continued speculation and uncertainty is allowing our opponents to portray us as dispirited and disunited.

    "It is damaging our ability to set out our strong case to the electorate. It is giving our political opponents an easy target."

    Hoon and Hewitt are seen as allies of Blair and it is thought unlikely that they will receive enough support to topple Brown.

    But the timing of Wednesday's letter is awkward, with British political parties effectively having started election campaigning this week after the Christmas break.

    Brown is expected to call the election for May.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    What obstacles do young women in technology have to overcome to achieve their dreams? Play this retro game to find out.

    Heron Gate mass eviction: 'We never expected this in Canada'

    Hundreds face mass eviction in Canada's capital

    About 150 homes in one of Ottawa's most diverse and affordable communities are expected to be torn down in coming months

    I remember the day … I designed the Nigerian flag

    I remember the day … I designed the Nigerian flag

    In 1959, a year before Nigeria's independence, a 23-year-old student helped colour the country's identity.