Short blames Bush and Blair for Istanbul bomb

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Clare Short blamed the bombings in Istanbul on mistakes made by George Bush and Tony Blair and attacked the Prime Minister as "messianic," right-wing and shallow.

As Downing Street dismissed the idea that the atrocities in Turkey were a revenge attack for Britain's role in the Iraq war, Ms Short said yesterday the bombings were part of "an unfolding and accumulating tragedy ... that was predicted by many, many serious people before the Iraq war, if the problem of Iraq was mishandled."

In an interview for GMTV's Sunday programme to be screened tomorrow, she accused Mr Blair and Mr Bush of "bad leadership" and "terrible errors". She said: "The sooner we can correct and come back to justice for the Middle East, settle Israel-Palestine, let Iraqi people lead the rebuilding of their country and stop trying to control and manipulate them to get the democratic outcome you want, we'll be able to pull back from the ever-growing confrontation that otherwise is going to hurt people right across the world."

Ms Short, who resigned from the Cabinet after the Iraq war, said Mr Blair had "swallowed the whole argument" of the American neo-Conservatives. "He wants to be sort of messianic, and say everything's about moral principle. He likes to be sort of right-wing, and he's quite shallow ... He's just taken this in, hook, line and sinker."

Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary, dismissed as "utter and palpable nonsense" the suggestion that Britain was paying the price for invading Iraq. And Mr Blair's official spokesman said: "We suffered significant casualties on September 11, so this country was already under attack way before the Iraq war and the Afghan war from al-Qa'ida."

The Government faced further criticism yesterday after Denis MacShane, the minister for Europe, said Britain's Muslim leaders had to choose between terrorism and the "British way" of political dialogue. Muslim groups condemned the minister. Inayat Bunglawala, a spokesman for the Muslim Council of Britain, said: "We do not need lectures from a representative of a Government that has conducted an unlawful war against Iraq. The Muslim community has consistently condemned terrorism and we condemn this latest attack on the British consulate and HSBC in Turkey."