How much is Labour being damaged by the Blunkett saga?

How much is Labour being damaged by the Blunkett saga?

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    Is he just providing PMQ material for David Cameron?

With a second top civil servant disputing accounts of what went on in Whitehall in David Blunkett’s controversial memoirs Labour appears to have started a damage limitation exercise to dissociate the party from the former Home Secretary.

The close Gordon Brown aide and former Agriculture Secretary, Nick Brown, is quoted this morning saying “Politics is a team game. Politicians on the same side have to stick together. I cannot understand what David Blunkett thinks he is doing except disqualifying himself from consideration as a serious politician.”

Fortunately for Labour Blunkett is no longer a minister but the claims by the former prisons chief Martin Narey had told him to “machine gun” rioting inmates during a prison riot in 2002 present a picture of minister who should not have held such a high position.

    Was Blair aware of the character of a close colleague and if so why was he not only kept at the Home Office until 2004 but then invited to return to the Cabinet after the 2005 General Election?

This all might feature at PMQs today when Tony Blair’s judgement could be questioned. No doubt Cameron will try to find a way of using the reports to ratchet up the attacks on the Government generally and Tony Blair in particular.

I don’t think that we are quite at the stage that John Major’s government reached ten years ago but we are quite near it. Tony badly needs to perform well at PMQs this afternoon. Another performance like last week and the summer hand-over plan might appear optimistic.

    For it is clearly in the Tory interest for Tony Blair’s departure to take place against a background of chaos and mayhem stoked up by opposition attacks. It won’t be good for Gordon if Cameron is seen to have played a role in the timing of Blair’s departure.

Latest Blair departure betting is here.

Mike Smithson

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