London, July 26 (ANI): After a disappointing by-election defeat in Norwich North and the continuing questioning of his role as party leader, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has called for discipline in the new Labour Party.
Brown appealed to both ministers and MPs headed off for summer break that there was work to be done during the summer.
"We've got to show that we are a disciplined party getting on with the work of government. I think people are very clear that we've got a task ahead. We've got work to do to prepare for the autumn," he told the Sunday Mirror in an interview.
Insisting that he was determined to spend plenty of time with his children during his break from Westminster, he emphasised that he would remain focused on the country, currently facing the challenges of swine flu and recession.
"My attention is focused on what I can do for the country. I will not be diverted," he said.
His comments come amid renewed concerns about his leadership among Labour backbenchers, who said he had until the party conference season in September to demonstrate he was up to the job.
The Tories overturned a Labour majority of more than 5,000 in Norwich North on Thursday to win by 7,348 votes.
Senior Labour backbencher Barry Sheerman said Labour needed to get its "act together" and stop blaming its difficulties on the MPs' expenses scandal.
"It's partly a question of leadership, it's partly a question of ideas," he said.
Sheerman accused Brown of failing to connect with voters, adding: "I'm saying he's got the summer to recognise this isn't about members' expenses, it's about something much more fundamental.
"People don't want to know about what we've done, they want to know what we're going to do and whether we've got the leadership and the forward-vision thinking to do it."
Another Labour backbencher, Kate Hoey, said: "By-elections are always unique but there is no doubt about it that this is a bad result. The Prime Minister, I hope, will be looking at how he's looking to lead the party and to talk to the party, and a lot of party members feel that they are not listened to." (ANI)