London, June 21 : British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has told close allies that the next general election will be his last as Labour leader.
Opinion polls indicate that Brown is likely to be forced out following a comfortable Tory win at the next general election, The Telegraph reported.
The Prime Minister has pledged that he will step down at "some point" during the next parliament should he beat the Conservatives in two years.
Brown has let a few senior Cabinet colleagues know that he intends to quit in time to allow his successor at least a year to fight the election after next, a move designed to stop speculation about his leadership.
If he pulls off a remarkable comeback and wins in 2010 he will quit well before the country goes to the polls.
However, by setting out a timetable for his future departure Brown may find that some question whether he should leave sooner.
One source close to the Prime Minister said: "This is not a lifetime commitment."
Opinion polls indicate that such is labour's unpopularity, that Brown is likely to be forced out sooner, following a comfortable Tory win.
But even then, he is expected to stay as Labour leader to allow an "orderly" campaign to find a successor, similar to the way Michael Howard relinquished the Conservative leadership after being defeated in 2005.
If he wins, he will serve as Prime Minister, before allowing a successor at least one year to "bed in" before the country goes to the polls, sources close to Brown said.
It is unlikely that he will be challenged despite Labour's dire poll ratings, but the Prime Minister's private assurances that he will not fight more than one election as leader will be seen as a sign that he wants potential successors and unsettled backbenchers not to agitate for his removal before 2010.