GORDON Brown is facing a crunch point in his short reign as Prime Minister.

Many Labour MPs are outraged by the proposal to abolish the 10p tax rate and he could well have a mutiny on his hands in a Commons vote.

Attacking the poor in this tax change is the very opposite of the anti-poverty agenda that Labour is supposed to support.

It is no comfort at all to suggest that those affected by this mean-minded measure will be able to claim benefits to make up the shortfall. Why should they have to? And what would be the cost of administering that?

Gordon Brown’s apparent determination to press ahead with scrapping the 10p rate is rightly the focus for mounting concern over his leadership.

He is hitting people when they are already down because of the credit crunch and rising prices.