Call for anti-sleaze panel rejected

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Indy Politics

The Prime Minister was widely criticised for saying last week that David Blunkett had left the Government "without a stain" on his record. MPs want Mr Blair to give up his role as judge and jury when ministers have fallen foul of the rules. But he said yesterday that he would not "sub-contract" decisions over who he sacked to an independent panel.

Sir Alistair Graham, chairman of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, told The Independent on Sunday that such a panel would help to ensure ministers were held to a "rigorous and ethical regime".

But at his monthly press conference yesterday, Mr Blair said: "The only person who decides who is in the government or not in the end is the Prime Minister. You can't subcontract that decision. That is why I didn't agree with the recommendation."

Mr Blunkett resigned after failing to consult properly over his purchase of £15,000 of shares in a DNA company that could have been involved in bidding for government contracts.