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Christmas has come early for David Cameron…

  1. Labour’s standing is so low that the party’s only hope of recovering may be to abandon Mr Brown and ‘move to a new generation’ by picking a much younger new leader – though it warns of the perils of being ‘disloyal’ to the ‘greatly respected’ Chancellor.
  2. The public believes the party is riven by ‘internal conflicts’ and shows a ‘lack of grip and competence on key issues’ such as Iraq, the NHS and immigration.
  3. People who voted Labour at the last Election ‘are moving across’ to the Conservatives and Labour is floundering ‘on every major issue’.

These are the findings of a memo that the Mail on Sunday claims has originated from Downing Street.  It states that "We have lost control of the big issues and are not delivering."  The memo appears certain to set off a new round of Labour infighting.  It describes Gordon Brown as "unpopular" and blames him for fanning the flames of the loans-for-peerages row.

A Labour source has challenged the veracity of the MoS story.  "This is not a Downing Street memo," the source says: "It was not written by any of the Prime Minister’s staff and it most certainly does not reflect his views."

11.15am update on 17/12: Reading between the lines of Labour’s denial, Iain Dale concludes that it was written by Philip Gould.  The crucial ingredient missing is the date.  If, as is now being suggested, it was written in September, it puts a different gloss on things.  That was before Project Cameron started to splutter a little and was in the immediate aftermath of the acrimony caused by the Brownites’ successful ousting of Blair.

67 comments for: Explosive ‘Downing Street memo’ suggests that abandoning Brown may be only way of saving Labour from defeat