Brown in one last desperate throw of dice

GORDON Brown was last night desperately clinging to hopes of forming a grand anti-Tory coalition, with the Liberal Democrats, the Scottish and Welsh nationalists and other left-leaning MPs.

He held a secret meeting with Nick Clegg yesterday afternoon to try and sell the idea, offering significant concessions on voting reform in a bid to woo the Lib Dem leader.

But there was mounting recognition in the Labour party that Brown would have to resign as Prime Minister in the next few days, if not earlier.

He summoned key allies, including Lord Mandelson, Ed Miliband and Harriet Harman to Downing Street. But other senior Labour figures were noticeable by their absence, such as David Miliband, seen as a favourite to succeed Brown as party leader.

Meanwhile, Labour MPs broke ranks to call for his resignation.

Former sports minister and Labour MP Kate Hoey said: “I think he must go and I don’t think we will have renewal until we get a new leader.” She followed John Mann, a Labour member of the Treasury select committee, who also called for Brown’s head.

Under guidelines drawn up by the Civil Service, Brown must stay on as Prime Minister until Cameron is ready to form a government.

But many MPs think he should announce his intention to quit, and make it clear he is only occupying Number 10 as a caretaker.