LONDON – British Prime Minister Gordon Brown battled desperately Friday to keep his job, ignoring demands to quit amid a flurry of Cabinet resignations and a swelling rebellion in the ranks of his Labour Party.
Brown, who waited for a decade to inherit his job from Tony Blair, promoted loyalists to Cabinet posts in a shake-up of his team aimed at restoring his credibility. It follows a scandal over lawmakers’ expenses and catastrophic results in local elections.
His actions failed to quell a mood of dissent among rank-and-file legislators, or stem a procession of walkouts by once-loyal colleagues. Caroline Flint quit her post as Europe minister – one of 10 ministers to resign out of 23 – and accused Brown of keeping her as “female window dressing” in a male-dominated Cabinet.
Dissident legislators said a plot to oust Brown could gather pace when expected dismal results in the European Parliament elections are announced Sunday.
“I will not waver. I will not walk away. I will get on with the job,” Brown told reporters. He insisted he won’t be forced from office and said he can defy all predictions by winning a national election that must be called by June 2010.
Opponents say Brown is tainted by the economic crisis and the expenses scandal, has little authority over his ranks and is so unpopular that his governing Labour Party is doomed to defeat when voters next have a chance to choose a government.