Cook hints Blair should quit when presidency of EU ends

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Indy Politics

Robin Cook, the former foreign secretary, has hinted that Tony Blair should consider quitting as Prime Minister early next year.

Robin Cook, the former foreign secretary, has hinted that Tony Blair should consider quitting as Prime Minister early next year.

Many Labour MPs believe the likely shelving of the British referendum on the EU constitution, originally pencilled in for next spring, removes a suitable moment for Mr Blair to announce his resignation.

But Mr Cook suggested that the end of the British presidency of the European Union on 31 December would be an ideal time for him to step down.

Acknowledging the European constitution was "as dead as the proverbial parrot", he said resolving the resulting crisis would give Mr Blair the chance to restore Britain to a central role in Europe. "If he succeeds during our European presidency he will have prepared the best possible curtain call for himself to take a graceful exit," Mr Cook said in an article in London's Evening Standard.

"The disappearance through a trapdoor of the British referendum has removed one obvious date in the political calendar when it might have been convenient for the Prime Minister to make his departing bow. But it does not alter any of the political realities that prompted him to offer to go before the next election," he added.

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