Gordon Brown Survives Secret Ballot Coup Attempt
Opposition calls for an immediate general election
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 7, 2010 9:16 AM CST
British former cabinet minister Patricia Hewitt, one of two lawmakers who tried to oust Brown, speaks to media in London, Jan. 6, 2010.   (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
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(Newser) – Gordon Brown narrowly dodged the latest attempt to unseat him yesterday, after two senior members of his party called for a secret ballot on his leadership. Brown came out on top in the vote, but looked weakened, with several members of his cabinet offering only belated, tepid statements of support. Opposition leaders called for a new general election, saying Labour was too divided to govern.

Brown today dismissed the incident as a “storm in a teacup,” and insisted that his cabinet was united behind him. Asked about the decidedly lukewarm statements of support from his own ministers, particularly David Miliband, Brown replied, “You can read into quotes what you want.” According to a BBC report, the plotters believed that as many as six cabinet members would have lined up against Brown in the “right circumstances.”