Blair has destroyed cabinet government, says Castle

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Indy Politics

Tony Blair was accused last night of presiding over the "deliberate destruction" of cabinet government by Baroness Castle of Blackburn, the former Labour minister.

Lady Castle accused the Prime Minister of railroading through favoured policies without proper debate and of not giving "a damn" about domestic political issues.

She said: "He is not a democratic Prime Minister of the British type that we're used to, having to work through Parliament and Cabinet." She said on BBC Radio 4's The Westminster Hour that Mr Blair's biggest flaw was his "self-love".

She said: "We've talked about the constitutional reforms that are taking place under this government – biggest and most glaring is the deliberate destruction of cabinet government."

Lady Castle, who served in both the Wilson and Callaghan governments, said Mr Blair admired Margaret Thatcher's "methods of divide and rule".

She said that meant no minister presented any policy to Cabinet. Instead, Mr Blair drew up his own version and discussed it with the minister and departmental civil service head. An agreement would be thrashed out "and then they railroaded it through Cabinet".

"You can't have a successful government, certainly as far as any change in the social order is concerned, if you're going to tidy it up like that," she said.

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