Beleaguered British Prime Minister Gordon Brown is facing a leadership challenge from within his own party just months before a national election.
Two former members of Brown's Cabinet have written to fellow Labour Party lawmakers calling for a secret ballot on Brown's leadership.
Geoff Hoon and Patricia Hewitt say in the letter that grumbling about Brown's leadership is dividing the party.
Britain must hold an election by June and opinion polls give the opposition Conservatives a big lead over Labour, which has been in power since 1997. Brown's opponents within Labour say his lackluster leadership will ensure electoral defeat.
Unseating Brown would mean a quick party leadership contest and send an untested leader into a national election.