Brown Must Go - Chairman of Putney Labour Speaks Out

in a recent interview with The Independent's Political Editor Jane Merrick

Related Articles
Sign up for our free weekly newsletter

Comment on this story on the

Peter Carpenter,the chairman of Putney Labour Party and a member of the party's Thousand Club, told the Independent the Prime Minister needed to use his summer holiday to "come to the conclusion that he is part of the problem rather than part of the solution".

Mr Carpenter, who has donated more than £33,000 to the party since the last election cast doubt on Labour's ability to raise funds with Mr Brown at the helm. He described the Prime Minister as a poor communicator who "seems to slip on every banana skin that's about".

The move suggests that, besides the complaints by "usual suspect" MPs after the Norwich North by-election last month, there is a growing revolt among Labour grassroots and the donor community.

There were other constituency chairmen and donors who felt the same way and would speak out in the run up to Labour's party conference in Brighton next month, Mr Carpenter said.

The remarks follow an intervention last week by Peter Slowe, the chairman of the Labour Finance and Industry Group, that Mr Brown should step aside and allow Peter Mandelson to take over.

In an interview, also last week, Lord Mandelson failed to rule out stepping in as leader ? even though this would mean the Business Secretary leaving the House of Lords and becoming an MP again.

61 year old Mr Carpenter, told The Independent on Sunday it would be "too complicated" for Lord Mandelson to become leader, despite a proposed rule change allowing life peers to quit the upper chamber. But there were "two or three" good candidates who could take over, he said, including Alan Johnson, Ed Miliband or David Miliband.

Mr Brown's continued leadership made it even more unlikely that Labour could take it back, the constituency chairman said. "It is going to be very difficult to raise funds under Gordon's leadership," Mr Carpenter added. "I personally have my doubts about Gordon Brown. He was an excellent chancellor, but the mistake with chancellors is they are never any good as prime ministers. He has handled the credit crunch very well, that is his strength. But he does have a communication problem. He cannot do non-financial policy. He seems to slip on every banana skin that's about.

"Talking to people, I am not alone in holding the view that it would be better for Gordon if he came to the conclusion that he is part of the problem rather than part of the solution."

Echoing the phrase that Mr Brown used to press Tony Blair to hand over power, he added: "We should have an orderly transition that could be done reasonably rapidly within the party rules. I just think that it's a credibility issue as far as Brown is concerned."

August 7, 2009