Blair’s position not safe, say FDs

Link: FDs back embattled Blair

The results came despite the prime minister surviving the hardest week of his premiership seemingly unscathed.

On Tuesday last week, he managed to narrowly steer his university tuition fees policy through the Commons. The following day, Blair was fully vindicated by Lord Hutton for his role in the Dr David Kelly affair.

But despite Westminster’s clean bill of health, almost a third (32%) of FDs surveyed thought that Blair was unelectable as the next prime minister.

Many accused the Hutton report of being nothing more than a ‘whitewash’, and one respondent accused the prime minister of targeting middle and high-income earners. ‘The sole purpose of his government seems to be to soak those earning more than £30,000 per annum, so as to perpetuate state bureaucracy and all its inefficiencies,’ he said.

However, 60% thought Blair could be elected again. Several of those said his position remained safe because of the lack of a credible alternative from the Conservative Party.

Another, Kevin Tomlinson of Signam Limited, was more despondent. ‘It is frightening to look at both front benches and realise that there is no one there that you would want to select as the next prime minister.’

Among the words of support for Number 10 were those of Britannia International Hotel’s Tony Sowemimo. ‘I totally support Lord Hutton’s decision,’ he said. ‘I do not believe that Tony Blair could be blamed for the tragedy and feel that the BBC should have been more vigilant in letting their comments out.’

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