WHAT THE PAPERS SAY: Speculation of a Brown meltdown

The Guardian joined the ranks of the right-wing press, putting pressure on Gordon Brown by describing him as 'the sub-prime minister' (14 April), but suggested that the media and/or other Labour ministers were complicit in a campaign against him.

Polls putting Labour at its lowest in 16 years and Brown as more hated than Chamberlain or Wilson allowed commentators to speculate about a leadership challenge.

What the papers sayJohn Rentoul called for David Miliband to step up to the plate ahead of a 'Brown meltdown' (The Independent, 13 April).

The Daily Telegraph dismissed such talk as 'premature mischief-making' (15 April) but The Times highlighted 'criticism of his leadership, a slump in his authority and an extraordinary bout of indiscipline' among some party MPs (15 April).

Brown himself insisted he was focused on 'keeping the economy on track' (Evening Standard, 15 April).

Faint support came from health secretary Alan Johnson, who said: 'He is not a PR man; he is a serious politician' (The Independent, 13 April).

Analysis conducted by Echo Research from data supplied to PRWeek from NewsNow.

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