AN EAST Lancashire Labour MP has been criticised by the man hoping to replace him.

In a row over Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s leadership, Graham Jones, the Labour candidate for Hyndburn in the next General Election, said he disagreed with comments made by Greg Pope, who is standing down.

Mr Pope, whose ward also covers Haslingden, had written on his blog that the Prime Minister was “disastrously more unpopular than our party”.

And he called for Business Secretary Peter Mandelson to tell Mr Brown the “harsh truths”.

But writing on his own blog, Graham Jones, also the leader of the Labour group on Hyndburn Council, said: “I do not agree with Greg’s recent comments. Disagreement yes, but hostility no.”

Referring to a well-known Labour stalwart, Bolsover MP Dennis Skinner, Mr Jones said: “Dennis Skinner does not always agree but I am sure his mobile number is not passed around the whips’ office.

“I heard left wing union boss Tony Woodley say to Gordon publicly ‘I don’t agree with some of the things but I won’t undermine a Labour Government or Labour Prime Minister because that gives people the wrong message what we are about’.

“I think that is so true.”

Mr Pope also wrote that Labour had been “appallingly ill-served” by Brown supporters, branding the unseating of Tony Blair “an act of shocking disloyalty”.