`Control freak' Blair is urged to loosen up

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The Independent Online
TONY BLAIR should "loosen up" and shed his "control freak" tendencies for the sake of his MPs' mental health, according to a senior psychologist.

The Prime Minister is obsessed with control and his approach is making his colleagues depressed, the annual conference of the British Psychological Society in Blackpool was told yesterday.

Dai Williams, a consultant psychologist, argued that while tight control was necessary during the election battle, it is now time for Mr Blair to ease up.

Mr Williams said Mr Blair's autocratic approach had impaired the motivation of Labour MPs. "MPs are asking themselves, why should we bother? We can't make a difference anyway. In any organisation with a similar management style, people just give up.

"They are demotivated and disempowered. How often do you hear of new initiatives from back benchers? There's a lot of young people there with talent, but everything is being run from the top down.

"I don't get the impression they are pulling together as one highly motivated, happy team."

He said that Mr Blair and his close associates were showing signs of "paranoia" in their determination to control the Cabinet and the party.

Mr Williams said he had sent a copy of his study of the psychology of parliamentarians to MPs and ministers, but there seemed to be a barbed wire barrier around the House of Commons with a sign on it saying "psychologists keep out".

He said he had received acknowledgments of the receipt of his report from Gordon Brown and Robin Cook.