Blair attacks MCC

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The Independent Online
THE Prime Minister has made a dramatic intervention into the row over the MCC, condemning its refusal to admit women as unreasonable, writes Stephen Castle. His comments will be seen as a challenge to one of the pillars of the establishment, and will enrage traditionalists, who prevailed in last week's vote.

In an unusual move, Downing Street yesterday made public Mr Blair's stinging observations, which came in letters to members of the public who wrote to complain to him about the issue.

The Prime Minister replied that, while he was not a member of the MCC, "had I been, I would have voted to admit women and can see no good reason why that decision was not taken".

He added: "It seems to me that, in this day and age, such a decision does not reflect well on the MCC or anybody else."

Usually, when contacted on such an issue, the Prime Minister's office points out that Downing Street has no role in the matter. But the Government was surprised by the decision, and sports minister Tony Banks has already expressed his anger.

Equality blues, page 21