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Half Of U.k. Voters Say Brown Is Harming Britain, Poll Shows

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Half of U.K. Voters Say Brown Is Harming Britain, Poll Shows

More than half of U.K. voters see Gordon Brown staying in his post as prime minister as harmful for Britain, a poll showed, a week after the premier survived an attempt by some of his own party’s lawmakers to depose him.

The YouGov Plc poll for the Sunday Times newspaper found 51 percent of people agreed with the statement: “Gordon Brown’s continuing presence as prime minister is damaging the country,†while 27 percent disagreed.

Brown, 58, is battling an ongoing rebellion despite naming a new Cabinet on June 6, reasserting his authority after six ministers quit and one called for him to step down. The Labour Party suffered the worst electoral defeat in its history during local and European elections on June 4, and Brown saw off an immediate challenge to his authority, promising to “improve.â€

“There is only one thing†that stands in the way of the main opposition Conservative Party winning power, Brown wrote in an appeal to voters in the Sunday Mirror newspaper today. “A stronger Labour Party committed to building Britain’s future,†he wrote. “We’ve never needed your support more.â€

Business Secretary Peter Mandelson, to whom Brown gave an enhanced role in his Cabinet overhaul and who has publicly defended the premier, said yesterday that the prime minister will come under further pressure to quit at the Labour Party’s annual conference in September.

“There is a small group who keep coming back,†Mandelson told the Daily Telegraph. “They won’t be reconciled to the prime minister’s leadership.â€

‘Doing Badly’

The YouGov poll also found that 74 percent agreed that Brown is doing badly as prime minister, while 60 percent said he should step down now or before the next general election, which must be called by June 2010.

The survey gave the Conservatives a 40 percent share of the vote, Labour 24 percent and put the third party, the Liberal Democrats, on 18 percent. YouGov questioned 1,902 Britons on June 11-12.

Separately, the Sunday Telegraph reported that Brown is now relying on an “inner Cabinet†of eight lawmakers who meet weekly. The new grouping includes his long-time ally, Children’s Secretary Ed Balls, and two potential challengers to Brown, Foreign Secretary David Miliband and Home Secretary Alan Johnson, and is designed to counter criticism of the appearance of a large and unwieldy Cabinet of 23, the newspaper said.

Rich donors including business people wooed to help pay for Labour’s 2005 election campaign, are deserting the party, hurting Brown’s ability to campaign against the Conservative leader David Cameron, the Sunday Times also reported today.

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