Page last updated at 20:37 GMT, Sunday, 7 June 2009 21:37 UK

Activists bang drum for Brown

By Ben Wright
Political correspondent, BBC News

Gordon Brown greeting Labour supporters in London
Gordon Brown struck a confident pose as he met Labour supporters

There was something of a parallel universe in east London this afternoon.

If a visiting martian dropped into Stratford's Victorian town hall they would have seen an incredibly popular leader being cheered by his people.

Inside the stiflingly hot room, Gordon Brown's political record was praised and his achievements lauded.

Mr Martian would have had no sense at all that this was a leader clinging onto office.

The meeting with party activists had been hastily arranged.


Labour might be in turmoil at the moment but the party machine can still orchestrate a slick press event.

The message this afternoon was clear. While MPs in Westminster agonise and bicker about whether to defenestrate Mr Brown, the man himself has an appetite for the job and the backing of his party.

It's sometimes easy to forget the emotional toll this political drama must be taking on Gordon Brown.

But as he plunged into the room, pumped hands and spoke strongly without notes, his resilience and confidence was striking.

This is not a prime minister who will hand back the keys to No 10 without a fight.

There was a hint of Tony Blair in the delivery of his jokes. Bold enough to be self-deprecating, he said the reason for his wife's absence was not that she'd resigned.

But the guts of Gordon Brown's pitch was about policy. He said his government had to tackle the downturn, clean up politics and reform public services.

Walking away, he said, would be unforgivable.

It was a message directed at those Labour MPs who've complained that the party is politically rudderless.


Someone in the audience criticised what he called the "self-indulgent" MPs at Westminster who are calling for Mr Brown to quit. After the rally, others said the same.

"There is no direct anger about his leadership," said Salim Patel, who campaigned for Labour during the recent elections.

"Yes, people are angry about expenses. But as a prime minister he is dealing with the issue and we are proud of him."

David Christie, a 23-year old activist, came out of the meeting pleased with what he'd heard.

"You had a real sense that he was the man for the job".

Gordon Brown drove back to Downing Street to face a night absorbing the European election results that everyone in Labour knows will be bad.

His hour in Stratford must have been a felt like a mini-break.

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MEP Seats

  Votes MEPs
Party % +/- % Total +/-
EPP 33.4 -1.4 264 -18
Socialists 23.2 -4.1 183 -26
Liberal 11.0 +1.6 84 +5
Green 7.4 +1.3 50 +9
Left 5.3 -0.6 34 -2
UEN 3.4 +1.6 28 +2
Ind/Dem 2.7 -1.8 21 -15
No Group 13.6 +3.4 72 +3.4
0 of 27 countries declared.

UK Total MEP Seats

Party Votes MEPs
% +/- % Total +/-
CON 27.7 1.0 *26 1
UKIP 16.5 0.3 13 1
LAB 15.7 -6.9 13 -5
LD 13.7 -1.2 11 1
GRN 8.6 2.4 2 0
BNP 6.2 1.3 2 2
SNP 2.1 0.7 2 0
PC 0.8 -0.1 1 0
OTH 8.5 2.4 0 0
SF 1 0
DUP 1 0
72 of 72 seats declared. Vote share figures exclude Northern Ireland as it has a separate electoral system to the rest of the UK
* Includes UCUNF MEP elected in Northern Ireland
BBC political editor Nick Robinson Nick Robinson
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