War of words: Darling makes diplomatic bid to end acrimony over resignation of `wrong-headed' Frank Field

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The Independent Online
What He Said

About Them

"I want to speak publicly and campaign in public for all the things I know need doing but which I was frustrated from doing when in office." - in an`exclusive' interview in the Sunday People "Incentives to work and save are fatally undermined." - the Sunday People "In the end I ceased to even put projects forward because nothing ever happened. They'd be run into the sand, disappear into a black hole." - the Sunday People "Whenever he [the Prime Minister] got personally involved in something it would happen . . . In my case, it was clearly very easy for the message to get lost on the way to Downing Street."

"It is entirely true that Gordon was trying to block my ideas on pensions... [Brown's plans for a means tested minimum pension] ``would be a corrupting influence on people". - the Sunday Telegraph

What They Said

About Him

Gordon Brown said Field's ideas would have cost the taxpayer "billions". Other ministers joined the fray, putting the cost of implementing his proposals at pounds 20 billion. "All Brown did was to ask the difficult questions which exposed the shallowness of his plans," said a member of the cabinet's welfare group.

Cabinet "enforcer" Jack Cunningham accused Field of forcing the Prime Minister's hand by demanding a promotion to the Cabinet during the reshuffle. "That's not the kind of pressure any Prime Minister is going to accept," he said. The Prime Minister's spokesman: Field's talents "not best suited to running a government department" and his proposals "never took the form of policy capable of being implemented by a government". Alastair Darling: "Of course this is an area where there needs to be a debate and discussion, but the point comes where you have to implement reform." An anonymous ministerial colleague said his Green Paper had to be rewritten by Downing Street because the first draft was unpublishable: "He let us down in office and now he has let us down out of office."