Labour suffered humiliation in the local elections tonight after the party lost its four remaining county councils to the Tories. Nottinghamshire was the last to fall as the Conservatives took control gaining nine seats while Labour – which had held the council since 1981 – lost 22.
Earlier Derbyshire fell after 28 years of rule, while Labour was also beaten by the Conservatives in Lancashire and Staffordshire. Overall, Labour appeared to be heading for total losses of around 300 seats while the Conservatives picked up more than 200.
Mr Brown said yesterday's elections had been "a painful defeat for Labour".
He told reporters in Downing Street: "I am here to be totally candid, to accept my responsibilities and to set out what I intend to do.
"The elections yesterday were a painful defeat for Labour. Too many good people doing so much good for their communities and their constituencies have lost through no fault of their own."
Hours before the crucial Euro results were due to be announced, the prime minister's hopes of survival suffered a further setback when the former Lord Chancellor Lord Falconer became the most senior figure yet to call for a leadership contest. The peer – once Tony Blair's flatmate – warned that potential candidates were waiting in the wings, ready to mount a challenge, if Brown was not prepared to stand down as prime minister.
Meanwhile, Tessa Jowell became the first member of the cabinet to speculate openly that Brown could be prepared to step aside if he believed he had become an "obstacle" to Labour winning the next general election.
If Labor comes in third-- or even fourth-- in the EU Assembly elections, Prime Minister Gordon Brown could be facing more than a headache. There has been talk about an attempt by backbenchers to oust him as party leader. Monday Brown will be meeting with Labor parliamentarians who see the election results as a Sword of Damocles hanging over all their heads.
As Howie states, the ruling parties are all getting killed throughout the EU elections.
It hasn't helped that Silvio Berlusconi is embroiled in a sex scandal with girls young enough to be his grand daughters. (He's 72 and his latest mistress and pimp is 18-- and he used a government plane to ferry her and his friends to his villa in Sardinia.) Yesterday the biggest newspaper in Spain published pictures of Berlusconi cavorting around naked with the topless girls and he called in "an invasion of privacy" and is now suing the paper.