The Prime Minister was given a rousing reception at last night’s meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party.

It was the first time that Labour MPs had gathered together since the government reshuffle in which ‘big beasts’ Peter Mandelson and Margaret Beckett returned to government.

The show of unity behind the PM indicates both an increased confidence that Labour can win the next election and a realisation among those unhappy with his leadership that events in the global financial markets mean it is no time to destabilise the government.

Just last month rebel MP George Howarth slammed Mr Brown.

He called for a leadership election, saying “he’s so unpopular that no one can remember a time since Neville Chamberlain, after Hitler invaded Norway, that anyone was so unpopular.”

After last night’s PLP meeting he declared “hostilities are over.”

The months of speculation about the Labour leadership appear at an end, at least for now, as the country is battered by unprecedented financial turmoil.

Some British bank shares are down as much as 25% today, and leading economists are calling for further injections of billions of pounds worth of taxpayer’s money to shore up the banking sector and the wider economy.

The Prime Minister told the meeting that Labour can take on the Tories, who have had a commading lead in the opinion polls for a year.

“People’s minds are not yet set. We have got to go out and win the arguments on the economy,” he said, according to the BBC.

Mr Brown also confirmed that the Glenrothes by-election would be held on November 6th.

Respect MP George Galloway told the BBC’s Daily Politics programme that he thinks Mr Brown will lead the Labour party into the next general election.

He also claimed that the party could hold the Glenrothes seat next month, saying voters in Fife are wary of giving the SNP another victory.

The Nationalists won Glasgow East in a by-election in July from Labour, overturning a majority of more than 13,000.

The Glenrothes by-election was caused by the death of MP John McDougall. He won in 2005 with a majority of 10.664.

The constituency borders Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath, Gordon Brown’s seat.