Blair acting `like a drunk and a madman', says Labour MP

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The Independent Online
A LABOUR MP has likened Tony Blair to a drunk and a madman in an attack on his "control freakery" and his attempt to stop Ken Livingstone becoming mayor of London.

A Labour official, writing in The Independent today, revealed that some staff at the party's Millbank headquarters were deeply worried about the authoritarian regime there.

Paul Flynn, MP for Newport West, accused Mr Blair of ignoring the lessons from devolution in Wales, claiming his drive to stop Rhodri Morgan heading the Welsh Assembly cost Labour a majority in this spring's Welsh elections.

He warned that Londoners would punish Labour in next May's elections for a mayor and the London assembly if Mr Livingstone is also the victim of a "stitch-up" when the party chooses its candidate.

"Continuing to do the same thing and expecting to get a different result is the definition of madness (Rule N) given by Alcoholics Anonymous to drunks who boast that they have learned to manage their boozing," said Mr Flynn.

"The deafening message from Wales and Scotland is `don't stitch the choice of candidate in London'. Those who are stitched up are rewarded with huge bouquets of votes. The stitchers are destroyed."

Mr Flynn launched his attack in Campaign Group News, a left-wing newspaper. He is not a member of the Campaign Group of MPs.

He said the likely explanation for Mr Blair's approach was "the neurotic need of the leadership of the party to control every activity in minute detail". "Devolution to Tony [Blair] means creating new institutions but with the power still retained at the centre."

Mr Flynn described Alun Michael, who narrowly defeated Mr Morgan as Labour's choice for First Secretary in Wales, as "an android" who beat "a candidate with a fully operational brain". A similar electoral college has now been set up to choose Labour's candidate in London.

In Wales, the result was an "unimaginable electoral disaster" for Labour, said Mr Flynn. "If the candidate for Mayor of London lacks legitimacy in the same way that Alun Michael does, the voters will again punish Labour. The comparison between Wales and London is uncanny," he said.

Dobson's deputy

attacks Met,

page 4;

Ken Livingstone,

Review page 4

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