Leading Labour adviser turns on Blair

One of Labour's leading supporters from the world of business has urged Tony Blair to drop his obsession with choice in health and education - at the very time when the Prime Minister has vowed to make choice one of the big themes of the general election.

One of Labour's leading supporters from the world of business has urged Tony Blair to drop his obsession with choice in health and education - at the very time when the Prime Minister has vowed to make choice one of the big themes of the general election.

Mr Blair insisted yesterday that one of the basic aims of New Labour had to be to "introduce greater choice and open up outdated monoliths of public service provision".

But Lord Haskins, who has acted as Mr Blair's adviser on issues ranging from the euro to combating red tape, today dismisses "choice" in public services as a "red herring".

Writing in The Independent on Sunday, he says: "The Government believes that we should be treated as consumers and that we should exercise choice about which product suits us best, as we do in the supermarkets. But the supermarket experience cannot be translated into the public services."

Mr Blair urged Labour supporters to take the Tory threat seriously at the election.

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