The government of Tony Blair has come under fire from one of his former allies – sacked interior minister Charles Clarke. He told the press the British Prime Minister had “lost his sense of purpose and direction”. He also criticised his successor in the interior ministry, John Reid. Blair fired Clarke last month following a series of domestic mishaps, including the release of foreign prisoners who should have been considered for deportation.
Clarke says the Prime Minister’s decision to let him go has stalled reform at the ministry. His comments have heightened the sense of division and infighting within the ruling Labour party. A string of high-profile scandals over sex, sleaze and general mismanagement have fuelled dissent and prompted calls for Blair to step down. Clarke predicts that will happen in 2008.
Political insiders though say the British leader is more likely to hand in his notice in the middle of next year. The opposition Conservatives, led by David Cameron, have taken full advantage of the government’s problems. The party has taken a 10-point lead in some polls, giving them hope of returning to power at the next general election in 2009.