A minister and six Parliamentary Private Secretaries (PPS) including one from the Department for Communities and Local Government, which represents the gay community as part of its portfolio, have resigned today, heaping more pressure on Tony Blair to announce a departure date.

Chris Mole resigned from DCLG unhappy at the Prime Minister’s leadership and his silence regarding a departure date, following junior defence minister Tom Watson this afternoon.

Mr Mole, MP for Ipswich, was responsible for working in areas such as equality and social cohesion since 2001..

In a statement to PinkNews.co.uk Mr Mole said: “I strongly believe the Prime Minister has lost the confidence of too many colleagues and more widely within the membership of the Labour Party and that renewal can only follow a change of leadership, our fortunes will not recover until that change has taken place.”

“I am confident that I have reflected the views of the constituency party in taking this step,” he added.

He left along with other PPS’s Khalid Mahmood, Wayne David, Ian Lucas, Mark Tami, and David Wright. Mr Watson is the most respected party figure to quit so far, all had signed a letter demanding Mr Blair’s resignation earlier this week.