Senior British ministers are discussing the possibility of ousting Prime Minister Gordon Brown in the next few months after his Labour Party lost one of its safest parliamentary seats, media reported on Saturday.
Nearly every British newspaper had a frontpage story quoting unnamed ministers as saying that talks were being held at Cabinet level, and that senior ministers were coming under pressure from parliamentarians to urge Brown to quit his post.
Brown took over as prime minister from Tony Blair in June last year, and his popularity has slumped since then because of the weakening economy, rising inflation and a series of political blunders that have alienated many voters.
An opinion poll for the Independent newspaper on Saturday showed the opposition Conservatives were backed by 46 percent of voters, way ahead of Labour on 24 percent.
"'The onus is now on Brown to prove that he should stay,'" The Guardian quoted an unnamed source as saying.
The Daily Telegraph quoted one unnamed Cabinet minister as saying: "There is only one thing that can be done and it's a change of leader."
The calls follow Labour's third by-election defeat in as many months on Friday in the traditional Labour stronghold of Glasgow East, Scotland.
The Scottish National Party (SNP) won just 365 votes more than Labour in the constituency -- a 22.5 percent swing from the sizeable 13,500 Labour majority in the 2005 general election.
Some Labour politicians rallied round Brown, himself a Scot, whose party is meeting this weekend to discuss policy.
"I do not recognise those comments from the Cabinet colleagues I talk to," Cabinet Office minister Ed Miliband told BBC's Newsnight programme on Friday when asked about the claims.
"People realise there is a big collective responsibility here -- the collective responsibility is not to turn inwards but to turn outwards and understand the concerns of the country."
Labour won three successive general elections under Blair's leadership, and now has a 62-seat majority in the lower house of parliament, the Commons. The next election must be held by 2010.
Last Mod: 26 Temmuz 2008, 16:27