Prentice calls on Gordon Brown to step down

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PENDLE MP Gordon Prentice has told local Labour Party members the Prime Minister should make way for someone else to lead the party into the next General Election.

The MP told the constituency management committee, meeting in Colne, that people had stopped listening to what the Government was saying.

"A Prime Minister needs a different set of skills from a Chancellor of the Exchequer. A Prime Minister must be able to communicate, persuade and enthuse. If not, the message is lost," he said.

Speaking from his constituency office today, the MP saud: "I hope Gordon reflects on things during August and accepts it is in the party's best interests, and perhaps his own, for him to stand down.

"It was an absolute tragedy there was no leadership election when Tony Blair resigned. The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats managed to have elections for their leaders and the sky didn't fall in.

"I didn't nominate Gordon for Leader specifically as I wanted to see the candidates tested in a leadership election campaign. That didn't happen."

The MP added: "Some people say we should carry on as before. I don't take these exhortations seriously from people who have made money writing about their time in Government and offering their plain unvarnished views on colleagues.

"I want to see an open leadership election where the bar in terms of nominations is not set so high so as to exclude credible candidates.

"In Government, the PM appoints MPs to his Cabinet and to the Government as a whole. In Opposition, the PLP elects the Shadow Cabinet. For over a decade we have had no elections. It is no wonder we are a bit rusty."