Letter: Principled defector

Sir: Shaun Woodward's claim that by joining Blair he is continuing his support for those policies he defended under John Major is the key to understanding our new political landscape.

This claim is in large measure true, and it shows that the Conservatives' drift to the right is in large measure the work of Tony Blair: the only way the Conservatives can distinguish themselves from a Majorite Labour Party is by turning into extremists.

This means the only opening for opposition is on Tony Blair's left flank. If Blair comes to be perceived as a Majorite, voters may grow rapidly more willing to look for an opposition in this direction. Shaun Woodward may yet do more damage to the Labour Party than he has already done to the Conservative Party.

Earl RUSSELL

Liberal Democrat

House of Lords

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