News24

Support for Brown takes a hit

2010-01-08 12:00

London - Support for British Prime Minister Gordon Brown's party dropped further behind the opposition in the wake of this week's failed plot against his leadership, a poll said on Friday.

The YouGov survey showed backing for the governing Labour Party fell one point to 30%, 12 points behind the main opposition Conservatives, just months before the general election.

The Conservatives, led by David Cameron, picked up two points to 42%, according to the poll for The Sun newspaper, conducted immediately after the leadership plot was announced on Wednesday.

Two former ministers called for a ballot of Labour lawmakers on whether Brown should remain their leader, in a deeply embarrassing challenge to his already-weakened authority.

The call gained early support from a handful of persistent Brown critics, but no major Labour figure backed the move, and one of the ex-ministers later admitted that it had failed.

Brown, who succeeded Tony Blair as prime minister in 2007, on Thursday dismissed the plot as a "storm in a teacup" and ministers rallied round him.

The premier must face a general election by June at the latest. Labour has long been more than 10 points behind in polls against the Conservatives, although the party, in power since 1997, recently narrowed the gap.

The timing of the row was seen as disastrous for Brown as he and Cameron effectively started election campaigning this week after the Christmas break.

YouGov polled 2 832 voters between Wednesday afternoon and noon on Thursday.