8 Sep 2008

Tory leader calls on Labour to back Brown or sack him

7:55 am on 8 September 2008

British Conservative Party leader David Cameron has called on Labour to either support or drop Gordon Brown as leader.

"Either back the guy or sack the guy," he told the Sunday Telegraph.

He also raised Mr Brown's failure to discipline foreign secretary David Miliband.

Mr Miliband has written an article which many read as an attempt to place himself as a future Labour leader.

In an interview with the Sunday Telegraph, Mr Cameron said that if Labour did get rid of Gordon Brown then it would have to call a general election.

"It would be quite outrageous to have two unelected PMs foisted on us one after the other," Mr Cameron said.

"So I say to the Labour Party, the foreign secretary and everyone included - make up your mind - back the guy or sack the guy.

"Behaving as you are for the moment is bad for the country."

The Tory leader also revealed that his party's election planning committee was now in operation. This was in case Mr Brown was removed "within weeks", and a snap election was called by his successor.

However, Schools Secretary Ed Balls told BBC One there was no reason for Mr Brown to stand aside.

Mr Balls defended his leader for "doing well in a really, really difficult time."

Asked if Mr Brown should stand down to give Labour a better chance of winning the next general election, he replied: "Of course I don't."

He said that leaders around the world were having a difficult time because of the state of the economy.

Previous PMs determined

Rather than change leader, Mr Balls said Labour needed to show "determination and steel and unity" and said the next general election was not lost.

He said previous prime ministers Tony Blair, John Major and Margaret Thatcher were behind in the polls in 2004, 1991 and 1986 and they won general elections in the following years.

"They stuck to their nerve and stuck to the long term and came back to win and we can do the same," he said.