Voters are "angry and annoyed" by ministers focusing on in-fighting over Cabinet jobs and not improving public services, party chairman Hazel Blears has warned.

Following repeated calls for Tony Blair to step down soon, ministers signalling ambitions to succeed John Prescott as deputy leader and the fall-out from last month's cabinet reshuffle, Ms Blears said the party risks taking its "eye off the ball".

But she denied the Government was in meltdown like the Tories in the early 1990s and vowed ministers still had more work to do.

"I think we are significantly different from where John Major was," she added.

She said the Conservatives in 1994 had "run out of steam" whereas the Labour Cabinet today still has a long list of reforms to pursue.

"Some people would say we have too much to do."

She denied the higher echelons of the Labour party were "arrogant and decadent" and insisted the party was full of "good, decent people".

"People are angry. They are a bit annoyed with us that we appear to be taking our eye off the ball. They want us to get on with the job.

"They elected us just a year ago to carry on doing all the things we have been doing for the last eight or nine years.

" We have to focus relentlessly on that, roll up our sleeves, get stuck into the job and carry on improving our communities."

Referring to the ambitions of education secretary Alan Johns on and Commons Leader Jack Straw to succeed Mr Prescott and continuous speculation about when the "orderly transition" from Mr Blair to Gordon Brown would happen, Ms Blears said: "Voters get very impatient with us when we talk to ourselves about our interests in particular jobs. They have given us a job to get on with and it's part of my job to make sure that everybody in our Government focuses on doing just that."

Adding that Tony Blair's decision to confirm he would not fight the next general election had led to a "furore", Ms Blears conceded: "I cannot say that I can make that go away."

Life in Britain today is "an awful lot better" than 10 years ago she said but added: "It's not perfect".

Recent polls pointing to a resurgent Conservative party "haven't been particularly good" for Labour.

"In the past oppositions were 20, 25, 30 points ahead of Governments at this stage and we are not in that territory at all."

She said in some ways the approach of new Conservatives leader David Cameron was "attractive" but the party had not been through the "same rigorous deep structural analysis of their policies" as the Labour party did from 1994. ..SUPL: