London, May 2 : With results in from 98 councils in England and Wales, projecting New Labour's national vote share at just 24 percent, and trailing David Cameron's Conservatives by 20 points, Prime Minister Gordon Brown is facing pressure from Labour MPs to change track.
The margin was similar to the drubbing received by John Major in council elections in 1995, two years before Tony Blair replaced him in 10, Downing Street.
Broadcasters' analysis suggested that the Tories would enjoy a landslide Commons majority of between 138 and 164 seats if the results were repeated in a general election.
According to The Daily Express, Labour MPs pointed the finger of blame for the bloodbath at the state of the economy and Brown's decision to scrap the 10p rate of income tax, which hit millions of workers' pay packets in the weeks before the elections.
Ed Miliband, one of Mr Brown's key lieutenants, admitted the 10p issue had made the campaign "difficult" and the chairman of the Parliamentary Labour Party, Tony Lloyd, said it had hurt Labour on the doorstep.
Cabinet minister John Denham, MP for Southampton Itchen, said Labour must listen to the concerns of voters in the South of England to restore its fortunes.
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