9 Jun 2009

Brown survives at meeting with MPs

8:28 am on 9 June 2009

British prime minister Gordon Brown has survived a challenge to his authority.

Mr Brown addressed his 350 Labour Members of Parliament on Monday after the party suffered a resounding defeat in European elections.

He expressed contrition, but said he is determined to fight on as leader after one of the most difficult weeks of his premiership.

Mr Brown reportedly told MPs he knows he needs to improve.

Six cabinet ministers and several junior ministers resigned last week and another junior minister left the government on Monday. A cabinet reshuffle was held on Friday.

Earlier in the week, party rebels were reportedly canvassing support for a letter calling on Mr Brown to stand down.

Labour came third in the European elections, with its lowest share of a national vote since 1910.

Voting was held on Thursday and results were issued on Sunday.

Labour won 15.7% of the vote - behind the anti-EU UK Independence Party on 16.5% and the Conservatives on 27.7%.

Labour's vote was about seven points down from the 2004 European election.

Labour also fared dismally in local elections last week.

However, the next parliamentary election is not due until June 2010.