Gordon Brown is facing fresh speculation over his leadership as a former Cabinet minister warned that a "void" in policy had left him staggering from crisis to crisis.
Ex-Home Secretary David Blunkett called on the Prime Minister to draw a "line in the sand" after he was forced into another embarrassing climbdown on MPs' expenses.
Mr Brown had proposed a vote on the issue of a daily attendance allowance, but the motion was finally dropped amid fears that the Government could be defeated for the second time in 24 hours.
Earlier MPs had rejected its policy for granting former Gurkhas residency.
Mr Brown hailed the expenses reform package that was eventually backed by the Commons as the "biggest changes in 25 years".
Receipts will now be needed for all spending, Greater London MPs will not receive second home allowance, and members will have to reveal details of how many hours they work on extra jobs. "I'm determined to clean up the system even if it makes me unpopular in certain sections of the House of Commons," he said.
Downing Street dismissed suggestions that the PM was losing his authority as "complete rubbish".
But the row sparked more tension inside Labour over Mr Brown's leadership, with reports that ministers are urging him to "get a grip" to avoid a Tory landslide at the general election.
"We can still turn this round, but Gordon is not listening," one told the Daily Telegraph. "If we don't get our act together - and that means Gordon needs some better advice - we could go down to a defeat every bit as big as, if not bigger than, the Tories in 1997."
Mr Blunkett, who is generally seen as a Government loyalist, told the Guardian: "Gordon Brown needs to draw a line in the sand now, not after the European elections in five weeks' time. Labour has lost its political antennae and needs to get them back. We have no underlying domestic social policy."