Britain has too many career politicians with little experience of real life, Hazel Blears, the Secretary of State for Communities, told the Hansard Society yesterday.
Her remarks were seen as a dig at cabinet colleagues such as David Miliband, his brother Ed, James Purnell and Andy Burnham, who were advisers to ministers before rising up the ladder. But allies of Ms Blears said they were aimed at David Cameron, who was special adviser to the former chancellor Norman Lamont.
Ms Blears, a former solicitor from a working-class family in Salford, said: "Politicians must not live on 'Planet Politics' and behave in ways alien and strange to the electorate. This happens partly because there is a trend towards politics being seen as a career move rather than a call to public service."