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Friday, November 17, 2006
Government minister breaks cover

(Or should that be “…breaks wind”?) Hitherto, the parliamentary Labour Party has been remarkably discreet in criticising the PM; he ought to have been thrown out long ago for piss-poor judgement about Iraq (see recent Joshings). Few people have gone on record if they fancy their reputations. However, according to The Scotsman, quoting Reuters:
A government minister was quoted on Friday as saying the Iraq war was Prime Minister Tony Blair's "big mistake in foreign affairs", in a potential new embarrassment for the government..
Here's’s the link to the whole article.

Margaret Hodge, minister for industry, was first reported in The Islington Tribune, a North London local newspaper, by the paper’s editor.

Currently, Ms Hodge, who used to be an Islington neighbour - and friend - of Tony Bliar’s, is lying low. Here’s a bit more of the article:
The Islington Tribune quoted Hodge as saying she had doubts in 1998 about Blair's attitude to foreign affairs because he had espoused "moral imperialism".But she had accepted his arguments on the Iraq invasion because "he was our leader and I trusted him", the paper said...

She added: "I hope this isn't going to be reported."
Interestingly, radio reports today, from someone present at the semi-private meeting, confirm the paper’s version, although sources representing Ms Hodge deny that she said anything as direct.

I wonder if she’s now going to use the Bernie Grant defence (the late Bernie Grant MP said, after a riot in his Tottenham constituency, in which a policemen was hacked to death, that “certain people” thought that that day the police had had a good beating, or words to that effect). It’s pretty certain that Bernie was using reported speech. I can’t wait for Ms Hodge to say that she was only saying that “certain people” thought that Tony Bliar had made a big mistake over Iraq.

There were sufficient Fabians present to make this a dangerous course; perhaps the “gaffe” was calculated, knowing that most people present would have agreed with her.

While I think she is an unlikely focus for a real “sack Bliar now” campaign, it really is about time the Parliamentary Labour Party chucked him out. The Iraq imbroglio overshadows anything worthwhile he and the Party have done and the only decent thing left for him to do is to go

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