Hattersley the rebel smarts from Blunkett's savaging

LABOUR IN BRIGHTON

JOHN RENTOUL

Political Correspondent

Roy Hattersley said he "hated" the "trauma" of his new-found role as conference darling of the rebellious left yesterday, as he smarted from a brutal put-down from David Blunkett on the platform.

He had seemed to revel in the delegates' applause after his first speech from the floor for 20 years and he took the long route back to his seat so that he could savour it. It was only when Mr Blunkett departed from his text to savage him that Mr Hattersley's face started to fall.

The former deputy leader claims that he does not want to be involved in political controversy. "Like the Queen Mother in 1936, I hoped to spend the rest of my life in comfortable obscurity," he said.

He says he was offered a Cabinet post in a Labour government by John Smith, when he told the former leader that he would not be standing for the Commons again at the next election. He says Mr Smith told him: "I hoped you would see us in for a year or two." But Mr Hattersley says he did not like the idea of being an"old man" in a Labour cabinet, delaying the advancement of younger talents.

Instead, he returned to his original craft of journalism and started earning a lot of money as a writer. Some of his articles are cultural. Some are autobiographical - the best was the Roy Hattersley Diet (before, 15st 2lbs; after, 15st 2lbs). Andlater this month he publishes Who Goes Home? the story of his political life.

But some of his articles are political, and in January he struck a chord on education, and began an extraordinary transformation into left-wing firebrand and leadership critic.

This culminated in his appearance at the Tribune Rally on Tuesday. He was paying back a 21-year-old grudge. He told how Tony Crosland told him off for losing "thousands of votes" by pledging, as education spokes- man, to abolish fee-paying schools. He was still bitter about Harold Wilson's refusal to give him the job in government.

But left-wing dissenters, as Liz Davies has also discovered, have to pay a price - the "new Labour" leadership hits back, and hits back hard. Asked if Mr Blunkett's attack on him hurt, he said: "That's politics." But he was hurt. Will he retreat to lick his wounds, or will he fight on?

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: English Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is an excellent, large partially ...

Tradewind Recruitment: Science Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...

Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Primary Teacher

£100 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Teacher Birmingham Jan 2015...

Ashdown Group: Lead Web Developer (ASP.NET, C#) - City of London

£45000 - £50000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Lead Web Develo...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee