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Polly Toynbee's warning to Labour: Get rid of Brown or you are toast

The year isn't 48 hours old and two Labour MPs - Barry Sheerman and Greg Pope - have called on Brown to go.

Polly Toynbee uses her first Guardian column of the year to slam Gordon Brown's record and to predict defeat if he stays as Labour leader:

"There is nothing to celebrate in the dismal year ahead. The Labour party is sledging down a black run, eyes tight shut, the only certainty the electoral wall at the bottom of the hill....

The delusional tone of Gordon Brown's new year message says it all: "I believe we can create a new decade of prosperity with opportunities fairly shared amongst those who work hard and play by the rules." Just about every word of this raises questions about his record that he can never answer: GDP has fallen by 5% in the last year, taking us back to 2005; growth in his time was profoundly unfairly shared – over half the population saw virtually no growth at all; GDP per capita is a fraudulent measure that disguises how almost all growth went to the top 10%, and most to the top 1% – while he and Tony Blair did no more than see that the back half didn't fall too far behind...

The cabinet is frozen by individual self-interest – shame on all of them. They want Brown gone, but none dares wield the knife without the others... The country doesn't much like the Conservatives, but voters will throw Gordon Brown out – unless Labour does first."