James Forsyth

Jacqui Smith admits Brown’s tactics forced Blair to leave earlier than he wanted to

Jacqui Smith admits Brown's tactics forced Blair to leave earlier than he wanted to
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Jacqui Smith has given a rather reflective interview to Andrew Neil, which you can see on the BBC News Channel this weekend, in which she concedes that she’s likely to lose her seat. But, to my mind, the most interesting thing about the interview is how frank she is about how Blair was bundled out of office by the Brownites. Look at how she answers this question:

Andrew Neil:  And can we be in any doubt now that Mr Blair was forced to leave earlier than he wanted to because Mr Brown and his people were pushing so hard?

Jacqui Smith:  I think it’s likely that Tony left probably earlier than he might have done had there not been that pressure placed upon him.  I sometimes say about my time as Chief Whip that I never lost a vote but I did lose a Prime Minister.

The way in which Brown treated Blair is one of the reasons that he has found it so hard to command loyalty as Labour leader. As I wrote a few weeks back, the danger for Labour is that the two most-talked about successors to Brown, Ed Balls and David Miliband, would suffer from a similar problem if they became leader.

Written byJames Forsyth

James Forsyth is Political Editor of the Spectator. He is also a columnist in The Sun.

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