Britain’s Foreign Minister, Margaret Becket is paying a price for the government’s handling of the Middle East crisis.
Between 30 and 40 Labour party members in Becket’s constituency have decided to defect to the opposition Liberal Democrats.
Among those who have changed their allegiance are some senior local party officials. Their loss is important to a member of parliament as they are active in rallying political support. The defectors say that Becket’s failure to call for an immediate ceasefire in Lebanon was the final straw.
Lib.Dem. leader, Sir Menzies Campbell: “Nearly 40 members of the Constituency party of the foreign secretary decide to join the Liberal Democrats because they do not like the foreign policy of the Labour government – that’s a real slap in the face for Mr. Blair.” A Labour spokesman dismissed the rebellion as being more to do with local issues and that the government was working hard to achieve a sustainable ceasefire. But critics say it shows how out of touch Downing Street is with many in the party.