Estelle Morris resigns with sideswipe at PM

Click to follow
Indy Politics

Estelle Morris, the Arts minister, yesterday took a sideswipe at Tony Blair for allowing politics to be dominated by spin, soundbites and headlines, as she announced she was stepping down from the Government for the second time.

Estelle Morris, the Arts minister, yesterday took a sideswipe at Tony Blair for allowing politics to be dominated by spin, soundbites and headlines, as she announced she was stepping down from the Government for the second time.

The former teacher gave Mr Blair a B-minus for failing in his promises to deliver a new style of politics when he came into office in 1997 and appointed her to her first ministerial job as Schools minister.

Citing Mr Blair's own soundbites, such as "tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime", and "rights and responsibilities", she said the Government had failed to communicate its ideas to the public in a way they could understand. "If I have a disappointment, it's that I don't think we've delivered on the new style of politics. I was very optimistic about a new style of politics, and it's not there. If I have a regret it's that our government - and not just Labour, it's not about parties, it's about all of us, Labour and Tories - have failed to find a language that the public understand. The two major parties have coalesced around a series of statements that they think define themselves. And they don't. There's too much about soundbites and headlines."

Boris Johnson, the shadow Arts minister, said: "I'm sorry that Estelle has decided to step down. She's been charming and a great asset to her party, and I have very much enjoyed opposing her. I hope she will continue to devote herself to her brief and I wish her all the best."

The departure of a widely liked minister, who admitted her failings, will revive questions about whether Parliament is still too much of a "man's club" for talented, open-hearted women. The former teacher said: "I have not lost my enthusiasm or energy for politics but I want a different focus and a new challenge outside the House of Commons."

Comments