Three extracts from political diaries, compiled by Ian Irvineby Ian Irvine / May 4, 2009 / Leave a comment
Published in May 2009 issue of Prospect Magazine
12th May 2003
Chris Mullin, Labour MP for Sunderland South, writes in his diary:
To London on the 10.42. Just after Doncaster, the Scarborough MP, Lawrie Quinn, passed by and said he had heard on the radio that Clare Short had resigned. [That afternoon in the Commons] Clare rose as soon as Jack Straw had finished his statement on Iraq. She was seated a couple of rows back from the Speaker, between Tom Clarke and Dennis Turner, who, after the twists and turns of the last few weeks, are about her only friends in this place. I was standing a couple of yards away. Clare was heard, for the most part, in dead silence. Only when she broadened her attack, away from Iraq and on to The Man [Tony Blair] personally, was there a certain amount of mumbling and when she sat down there was no hear-hearing, not even from those who share her view on the handling of the war. She has alienated everybody. A sad end. Until two months ago, Clare was arguably one of our most successful ministers. It is down to her, and the battles she fought in the early days, that aid policy has been prised free of trade and foreign policy and no-one can take that away from her. If she’d gone, alongside Robin Cook (and with his dignity) she would have retained the respect of everybody and would probably have had a future running a UN agency or even the IMF or World Bank. As it is she has blown every bridge.
(From A View From The Foothills by Chris Mullin; Profile, £20)