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Thursday, September 14, 2006

Short: 'New Labour is a coup, stop voting for it'

Clare Short MPGuardian: "Clare Short, the former cabinet minister, could lose the party whip or face expulsion from the Labour party, after calling for a hung parliament at the next election as part of the announcement of her retirement.

Ms Short, 60, revealed today she would be standing down from her Birmingham seat as she was so "ashamed" of the Blair government.

But she also expressed hope that a hung parliament would help the case for proportional representation. Labour would have to lose its current working majority of 69 for there to be a hung parliament.

This afternoon, Labour's chief whip, Jacqui Smith, called her comments "completely unacceptable" and confirmed that her behaviour would now be referred to the general secretary of the Labour party

[...] One of Mr Galloway's offences was to call on voters to vote for another party, in that case Respect, a call Ms Short appeared to have implicitly echoed in her hopes for a hung parliament.

[...] In announcing her retirement in an article in the Independent, Ms Short wrote that the future of British politics was a hung parliament which would encourage electoral reform.

She said that Labour should hold a third of the seats, the Tories a third and the rest should be made up of Greens and other parties.

Ms Short said that Ms Smith had previously warned her that she could not recommend a hung parliament because that would mean the loss of Labour seats.

"I am standing down so that I can speak the truth and support the changes that are needed," she wrote.

"Sad to say, it is now almost impossible to do this as a Labour MP."

[...] The former international development secretary, who quit her post after the Iraq war, said that she was "profoundly ashamed" of the government, and described New Labour as arrogant, lacking in principles and incompetent.

Ms Short also levelled a personal attack at the prime minister, claiming that his "craven" support for US policies had made the world a more dangerous place.

And she said she had little hope that Gordon Brown becoming prime minister would change the situation.

[...]In the vitriolic Independent article, she wrote: "There are many good things that New Labour has done since 1997, mostly things Labour committed itself to before the New Labour coup, but I have reached a stage where I am profoundly ashamed of the government."

Lambasting Mr Blair's support for "US neoconservative foreign policy", she said: "He has dishonoured the UK, undermined the UN and international law and helped to make the world a more dangerous place."

She went on: "In addition to the arrogance and lack of principle of New Labour, there is an incredible incompetence. Policy is announced from No 10 to grab media attention and nothing is properly thought through."

[...] Little would change if Gordon Brown became prime minister, she said. "Whoever they talk about for the leadership there is no policy, there is no correction of error, it's just: 'Let's have another personality who can play around with this state of ours.'"


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