As one bad week ends another begins for Tony Blair. After last week’s local elections disaster the British prime minister faces a grilling from the press and, later, another from his Labour party parliamentary colleagues. Some of them want him to say when he will stand down.
George Osbourne, the shadow finance minister of the opposition Conservatives, said: “The Labour party is in an open civil war, if they can’t govern themselves they can’t govern the country.” John Reid, who was made interior minister in a post-election cabinet reshuffle, appealed for unity. “Those who want to push Tony Blair out, to stop the reform programme, and go back to old Labour, those are triple disasters that would amount to a catastrophe for this party,” he said. Finance Minister Gordon Brown, who is expected to be Blair’s eventual successor, did not add his voice to those calling for the prime minister’s early departure. His language in a spate of weekend interviews was decidedly careful, speaking only of a need for ‘renewal in government.’