Former minister calls for challenge to PM after by-election defeat
A Labour MP and former government whip has called for a leadership challenge to Gordon Brown in the wake of last night’s by-election defeat.
Tory candidate Edward Timpson won Crewe and Nantwich by a wide margin, taking nearly 50% of the vote.
Conservative leader David Cameron said their victory, in a seat held by much-loved Labour MP Gwyneth Dunwoody since 1983 until her death last month, was down to a new “coalition for change.”
Mr Timpson won 20,539 votes, a 17.6% swing to the Tories.
The size of the defeat has led one backbench MP to speak out against Mr Brown, who has been Prime Minister less than a year.
Graham Stringer, who served as Parliamentary Secretary to the Cabinet Office and as a government whip, told the BBC:”It is the responsibility of senior members of the Cabinet to say we are going in the wrong direction.
“Without that we are heading for electoral disaster at the next election and I desperately want the Labour Party to win.”
He called for a senior Labour MP to stand against Mr Brown.
Their win at Crewe and Nantwich yesterday was the first Tory by-election victory over Labour since 1978.
Mr Cameron said the result marked the end of New Labour.
“I want to build over the coming months, over the coming years, the biggest coalition for change in our country so we really can remove this government and give Britain a better chance,” he said.
The Prime Minister conceded that the people had sent him a message.
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“The message that we have got is that people are concerned,” he said.
“They’re concerned about rising food prices, rising petrol prices. People are concerned, rightly, about gas and electricity bills.
“And I think the message that I have to get to people is this, that we are unequivocal and clear in our direction, that we’re going to address and are addressing these problems.”