February 11, 2006


Defeated Labour in bitter blame game (HAMISH MACDONELL, JAMES KIRKUP AND GERRI PEEV, 2/11/06, The Scotsman)

LABOUR was embroiled last night in its most divisive bout of in-fighting for years, as the Westminster party tried to pin the Dunfermline by-election defeat on Jack McConnell.

While the Scottish Secretary, Alistair Darling, took public responsibility for the failed campaign, behind the scenes Labour MPs launched stinging attacks on the First Minister, saying his "pathetic" interference had crippled the party's chances and allowed the Liberal Democrats to record a stunning victory.

"What the hell did Jack think he was doing?" demanded one MP, who pointed at Mr McConnell's failure to take an early decision on the Forth Road Bridge tolls despite determined attempts by Gordon Brown to "bounce" him into it.

Other divisions soon emerged: Blairites questioned Gordon Brown's fitness to lead the party when he could not deliver a victory in his own backyard, while Brownites attacked the Defence Secretary, John Reid, for his apparent failure to turn up to a campaign engagement at Rosyth dockyard last week.

A party that has begun to turn against Blairism can't be suprised that it's returning to its pre-Blair state, can it?

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 11, 2006 8:27 AM
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