Dyke praises a politician 'who sticks to his word'

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Indy Politics

Charles Kennedy's election campaign received a major boost when Greg Dyke, the former director general of the BBC, announced he would back the Liberal Democrats.

Charles Kennedy's election campaign received a major boost when Greg Dyke, the former director general of the BBC, announced he would back the Liberal Democrats.

Mr Dyke, a Labour supporter for 40 years, attacked Tony Blair and accused him of presiding over the "destruction of cabinet government".

Standing beside Mr Kennedy at yesterday's Liberal Democrat press conference , Mr Dyke spoke of his disillusionment with Mr Blair and said he was not a man "who sticks to his word". He said: "I am unable to support a Labour Party led by Tony Blair. It is now very clear the Blair government did to the legal opinion on the war exactly what they did on the intelligence. They chose the bits they liked and they ignored the rest."

He claimed the Government had "sexed up" both the intelligence on WMD and the legal advice on the use of force - and Downing Street knew it.

He accused Labour of "undermining trust in our whole political system" and compared Downing Street to the White House during the Watergate affair.

"You are either on our side or you are the enemy," he said. "That is what Downing Street under Tony Blair and Alastair Campbell became. That is a very dangerous option for a democracy. That's what Nixon's White House was like."

Mr Dyke said he was backing the Liberal Democrats not only because of their Iraq stance, but because he supported policies, including raising the top rate of tax to 50p for those earning over £100,000.

"Blair went into the last election saying he wouldn't introduce tuition fees. I find it terribly difficult to accept that we have a system where kids from ordinary backgrounds leave university with debts of 20-odd thousand pounds."

Mr Dyke, who has given a £10,000 donation to the Liberal Democrats, said he initially supported the war against Iraq because he believed the Prime Minister.

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