|Rediff India Abroad Home | All the sections|
7 members of Blair govt resign
H S Rao in London | September 06, 2006 21:46 IST
Embattled British Premier Tony Blair on Wednesday faced a growing revolt in the ruling Labour party as seven members of his government resigned asking him to announce the date of his departure from office.
Junior Defence Minister Tom Watson was the first to resign saying Blair's continuation in office was not "in the interests of the country or the ruling party".
He had also put his name to a letter from 17 Blairite members of Parliament calling on the prime minister to step down.
Six more Parliamentary private secretaries -- Khalid Mahmood, Wayne David, Ian Lucas, Mark Tami, David Wright and Chris Mole -- quit their posts soon after Watson resigned because Blair has not "ended the uncertainty" over when he intends to step down.
The developments came hours after a report said that Blair, who marks 10 years in power in May 2007, would formally quit on July 26, 2007, once his successor has been chosen, most likely Chancellor Gordon Brown.
Prior to that, he would resign as the Labour party leader on May 31, The Sun reported.
10 Downing Street insisted that it did not leak the date to the newspaper adding, it would not be giving a "running commentary on dates".
Branding Watson as "disloyal, discourteous and wrong" for signing the letter urging him to go, Blair said he was going to sack him anyway.
Watson has already been replaced by Junior Transport Minister Derek Twigg.
In his letter to Blair, Watson wrote, "It is with the greatest sadness that I have to say that I no longer believe that your remaining in office is in the interest of either the party or the country."