Peter Hoskin

Labour MPs told to prepare for a local drubbing

Labour MPs told to prepare for a local drubbing
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One of the main reasons why Brown needs a successful G20 summit and Budget, in April, is that there are so few subsequent events which could conceivably go well for him.  Take the local elections in June - according to today's FT, the Labour party is briefing its own MPs to expect a drubbing:

"Labour strategists believe the party could lose control of all of Britain’s county councils at the local elections this summer for the first time since 1977.

MPs were warned by senior ministers on Monday night to expect a dismal showing in June with the possible loss of all four county councils held by the party.

Harriet Harman, deputy Labour leader, and John Healey, local government minister, gave a downbeat prognosis to a private gathering of the parliamentary Labour party. MPs were told there was a high chance of losing some or all of Nottinghamshire, Staffordshire, Derbyshire and Lancashire councils."

After last year's local elections, Brown faced mounting speculation of a leadership challenge and had to appear in front of the cameras taking personal responsibility for Labour's heavy losses.  While I don't think we'll be seeing a direct challenge against him in June, a worst-since-1977 performance will hardly help the PM's beleaguered cause.