Brown red-faced as Labour loses Henley bypoll | world | Hindustan Times
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Brown red-faced as Labour loses Henley bypoll

world Updated: Jun 27, 2008 22:22 IST
Vijay Dutt
Vijay Dutt
Hindustan Times
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Labour party members are seeing Prime Minister Gordon Brown as a liability a day after their party finished a lowly fifth in a by-election in Henley on Thursday.

In light of recent polls, which show that almost two-thirds of voters think Brown as a liability, Labour MPs had no other choice but to feel the same way, according to one Labour MP who spoke to HT.

As Brown celebrated his one-year anniversary in office yesterday, Conservative Candidate John Howell finished more than 10,000 votes ahead of his closest opponent, a Liberal Democrat candidate. Brown's Labour party also finished behind the Greens and the far-right British National Party.

Howell replaced Boris Johnson, who stood down as an MP after becoming London mayor.

The election made "clear that the New Labour coalition is falling apart,” Johnson said. “The British public has sent a message to Gordon Brown to 'get off our backs, stop the endless tax rises and help us cope with the rising cost of living,” he said.

The Labour MP for the neighbouring constituency of Reading West, Martin Salter, admitted it had been a terrible night for his party, which had attained third place in 2005.

But he said: “It is very difficult to divine a clear message for Gordon Brown in a seat in which we had no chance at all. It is one of the worst seats for Labour in the country.”