Six Leave Blair Cabinet in Protest

Six MPs have left Tony Blair’s government in protest because he refuses to name a date certain for his departure.

Six junior members of British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s government resigned Wednesday to protest his refusal to set a date to leave office amid a growing Labour Party revolt. The rebellion flared despite strong hints by senior ministers that Blair planned to step down within a year, and a news report claiming the departure date would be July 26.

“I no longer believe that your remaining in office is in the interest of either the party or the country,” Tom Watson, who was minister for veterans in the Ministry of Defense, said in a letter to the prime minister.

Five lawmakers who serve as unpaid aides to government ministers also quit their posts rather than remove their names from a letter demanding Blair set a timeframe for his departure.

Most bizarre. After all, Labour was re-elected with Blair as the standard bearer. Given the tension his policies have created, however, Blair should either set a timetable for his departure or simply announce that he’ll finish out his term absent a no confidence vote. Leaving things up in the air is perhaps the worst strategy.

FILED UNDER: Europe, World Politics,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Christopher says:

    President Bush should award him with a medal of…? )How do we honor foreign dignitaries?) He deserves praise from Americans for leading his country’s efforts in the war on terror.

  2. Anderson says:

    Given the tension his policies have created, however, Blair should either set a timetable for his departure

    But he steadfastly refuses to “cut and run,” see …

  3. Christopher says:

    hahahaha oh anderson u r such a card! a card!!!

  4. cian says:

    Christopher,

    I’m not sure if you are aware of just how unpopular President Bush is in the UK. More than the unpopularity of the war in Iraq, it is Blair’s relationship with Bush that is damaging his standing and has eaten into New Labours’ poll numbers.

    If Bush wants to reward Blair for his support, best leave him be, so Labour can distance itself from the accusation of sacrificing the needs of the UK for those of America.

    Unfair, perhaps, but a perception held by many. Obviously this is of no real matter to your president, but presuming Labour’s future is still of interest to Blair, a Bush award would be a real worry.

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