Page last updated at 13:12 GMT, Wednesday, 6 January 2010

In full: Text of Brown letter

Here is the full text of a letter from Geoff Hoon and Patricia Hewitt to all Labour MPs calling for a secret ballot on the leadership of the party.

Dear Colleague,

As we move towards a general election it remains the case that the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) is deeply divided over the question of the leadership.

Many colleagues have expressed their frustration at the way in which this question is affecting our political performance.

We have therefore come to the conclusion that the only way to resolve this issue would be to allow every member to express their view in a secret ballot.

This could be done quickly and with minimum disruption to the work of MPs and the government.

Whatever the outcome the whole of the party could then go forward, knowing that this matter had been sorted out once and for all.

Strong supporters of the prime minister should have no difficulty in backing this approach.

There is a risk, otherwise, that the persistent background briefing and grumbling could continue up to and possibly through the election campaign, affecting our ability to concentrate all of our energies on getting our real message across.

Equally those who want change, should they lose such a vote, would be expected by the majority of the Parliamentary Labour Party to devote all of their efforts to winning the election.

The implications of such a vote would be clear - everyone would be bound to support the result.

This is a clear opportunity to finally lay this matter to rest. The continued speculation and uncertainty is allowing our opponents to portray us as dispirited and disunited.

It is damaging our ability to set out our strong case to the electorate. It is giving our political opponents an easy target.

In what will inevitably be a difficult and demanding election campaign, we must have a determined and united parliamentary party. It is our job to lead the fight against our political opponents.

We can only do that if we resolve these distractions. We hope that you will support this proposal.

Yours fraternally,

Geoff Hoon and Patricia Hewitt



Print Sponsor


SEE ALSO
Labour leadership rules
25 Sep 10 |  UK Politics


FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

BBC iD

Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2019 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific