Thursday, November 03, 2005

Beginning of the End for Blair?

Over in the UK, David Blunkett, the minister for Work and Pensions, resigned yesterday - for the second time, despite Tony Blair's urging him to stay. Blunkett felt that his latest scandal - a failure to declare his holdings in a controversial DNA company he joined whilst he was out of office - was taking too much attention away from government. Blunkett is always said to be a key Blair ally but this is his second mistake (his first was fast-tracking his nanny's immigration papers when he was Home Secretary) and given Blair's current weakness he really had to go.

Blair received a second blow when a clause in his draft anti-terrorism legislation - the so-called "glorification" clause (clamping down on public expressions of support for terrorism), was passed by only a single vote in the House of Commons yesterday. It was pointed out that Cheire Blair herself could be prosecuted under this ruling - she once said she could understand why Palestinians would become suicide bombers. The government was forced to back down on the infamous proposal that terrorist suspects should be held in custody for up to 90 days without charges being brought.

Simon Hoggart writing in today's Guardian detects signs that even Blair's own MP's are beginning to "enjoy" the process of dismembering their leader.Guardian Unlimited Politics Special Reports Simon Hoggart's sketch

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