Cherie Blair is the 'Lady Macbeth' of British politics

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Indy Politics

The Conservative Party was accused of launching a "despicable attack" on Cherie Blair last night after one of its frontbenchers compared her to Lady Macbeth.

The Conservative Party was accused of launching a "despicable attack" on Cherie Blair last night after one of its frontbenchers compared her to Lady Macbeth.

John Bercow, the party's home affairs spokesman, criticised Mrs Blair for her public support yesterday for the incorporation of the European Convention on Human Rights into British law.

In a newspaper article she wrote under her professional name of Cherie Booth QC, the Prime Minister's wife denied that the Human Rights Act would "open the floodgates" to unfounded legal claims when it takes force in October.

But Mr Bercow accused her of interfering in politics, adding that she was attempting to direct policy from "behind the throne" just as Hillary Clinton had done in the United States.

In an unprecedented attack on the wife of a serving prime minister, he warned Mrs Blair to stay out of the political arena, and called her a cross between Lady Macbeth and Mrs Clinton.

"Cherie Blair is breaking the long-standing convention that prime ministers' spouses do not push their own political agendas. It is unclear whether Cherie's end goal is to be Lord Chancellor or whether she is happy to direct policy from behind the throne," he said.

"What is clear is that Cherie has a bad dose of 'Hillary Syndrome'. She forgets that in Britain we already have a First Lady: the Queen. If the Blairs bothered to look at their soulmates the Clintons, they would see that American voters are not impressed by unelected spouses who seek to ram politically correct prejudices down their throats.

"People in Britain will not put up with anyone who thinks they can be an unaccountable cross between First Lady and Lady Macbeth."

Mr Bercow's comments infuriated Labour MPs, who called for him to be sacked from William Hague's team. Denis MacShane, Labour MP for Rotherham, pointed out that Mr Bercow was once the chairman of the right-wing Monday Club's immigration and repatriation committee. "That proved he was extreme, but William Hague has still decided to appoint him to his new post. His latest remarks prove just how extremist the Tories now are," he said.

Fraser Kemp, Labour MP for Houghton and Washington East, agreed. "It's the sort of utterly offensive rubbish that you expect from the Tories these days. He knows Cherie Blair cannot defend herself. It's despicable."

A Downing Street spokeswoman said that while she was not qualified to comment on behalf of Mrs Blair, as a leading QC she was clearly entitled to comment on the Human Rights Act. "Cherie Blair is a highly qualified lawyer who speaks on this kind of area and has done so in the past along similar lines," she said.

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