Listen to John Reid, a serious Labour official, talk sense about Brown's gamble:

More Labour discontent here. Money quote:

“I think this is a bad decision, the wrong thing for the country and the Labour party,” said Mr Reid, a long-time opponent of Mr Brown. “If this is the new politics then I don’t think people are going to be very attracted to it.”

“It would be mutually assured destruction,” he said, adding: “If we appear to be snubbing the electorate … I think we will rue the day.”

Mr Reid said David Blunkett, his fellow former home secretary and Labour MP for Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough, agreed and had authorised him to say so.

Their sentiments were shared by several colleagues. Some warned the Government could be held to ransom by Scottish and Welsh nationalists, whose handful of Commons seats would be crucial to a “rainbow coalition” against the Tories.

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