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Brown sacks MP amid challenge for leadership change

world Updated: Sep 15, 2008 08:18 IST

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British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has sacked a second senior member of his party amid a growing demand from Labour lawmakers to force a leadership election.

Joan Ryan, the Labour MP for Enfield North, was fired from her post as vice-chairperson and envoy to Cyprus after she called for a "multiplicity" of senior figures to stand against him.

Downing Street said she had been "relieved of her duties" as the Prime Minister's special representative to Cyprus. Hours later, Labour said she had also been fired as a vice-chairman of the party, the Daily Telegraph newspaper reported.

Ms Ryan told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that she had "written to the party and asked for nomination papers to be issued".

"I think that in order to serve our constituents properly to the best of our ability, to face the big issues that are facing our constituents and to ensure that we have the best way forward to deal with those big issues, we need to have this debate about the direction and leadership of our country out in the open now," Ryan was quoted as saying by the daily.

According to the report, at least eight more lawmakers joined the growing clamour against Brown by calling for a vote on the leadership issue.

Brown is struggling to revive dire poll ratings 15 months after succeeding Tony Blair, and pressure is building up in the run-up to Labour party's annual party conference in Manchester in a week's time.

On Friday, Brown was forced to sack Siobhain McDonagh, a junior whip, after she became the first member of his administration to call for a leadership election.