Former Labour Cabinet Minister Frank Dobson Dies at Age of 79

Frank Dobson, the Labour MP for Holborn and St Pancras South between 1979 and 1983 and for the constituency of Holborn and St Pancras between 1983 and 2015, has died in York at the age of 79.

Dobson served as the Secretary of State for Health between 1997 and 1999, before standing down to prepare for a bid to become London Mayor. Dobson came third in the 2000 Mayoral elections following the decision of Ken Livingstone, previously a Labour MP, to stand in the election.

Tony Blair, the Prime Minister from 1997 to 2007, said in a statement that:

“Frank made an immense contribution to getting Labour back into power in the 1990”.

Sadiq Khan, the current London Mayor, posted on Twitter:

“So sad to hear the news about Frank Dobson. A hero of the London Labour movement – his kindness, commitment to reducing inequality, and unique sense of humour will be much missed. Sending love to his family.”

Zarah Sultana, Labour Candidate for Coventry South, Admits Hate Speech

Zarah Sultana, the newly selected Labour candidate for the constituency of Coventry South, has admitted and apologised for hate speech which she posted on-line.

Four years ago, Sultana posted on social media:

“Try and stop me when the likes of Blair, Netanyahu and Bush die”.

The Jewish Chronicle also reported that Sultana has previously called for violence by Palestinians when she corrected a post saying that instead of “non-violent resistance”, she meant “violent resistance”.

Sultana admitted the hate posts, but added:

“This was written out of frustration rather than any malice”.

The Labour Party has yet to comment on whether Sultana will be deselected.

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair Calls for Immigration Changes to Allow UK to stay in the EU

Tony Blair, the former Labour Prime Minister, has called for the EU and the UK to agree to a reduced level of migration to the UK in an attempt to remain in the EU. His comments come after Lord Adonis argued that an offer from the EU to limit freedom of movement could cause a reversal of Brexit.

Writing in the Sunday Times, Blair wrote:

“We can curtail the things that people feel are damaging about European immigration, both by domestic policy change and by agreeing change within Europe. This is precisely the territory the Labour Party should camp upon”.

Harvey Redgrave, a spokesman for the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, who had produced a report on EU migration, said:

“It is clear that free movement – in its current form – needs to be reformed, given last year’s Referendum vote”

However, excessive restrictions on EU migration, as proposed by the recently leaked Home Office paper, would be self-defeating, as our analysis of the role of EU nationals in the labour market shows, and also sacrifice the possibility of the UK staying within the Single Market. And evidence on attitudes to immigration and Brexit shows that a majority of the public expect compromise from the UK-EU discussions.

The government need to take a more pragmatic, inclusive and nuanced approach to these negotiations, which recognises the trade-offs involved between migration control and membership of the Single Market, and which recognises the new political reality, post-election, of their reduced mandate”.

Sir Michael Fallon, the Secretary of State for Defence, attacked Tony Blair saying:

“It’s a bit late now, this epiphany”.

Chilcot Inquiry Criticises Tony Blair for Lack of Planning and Consultation in Gulf War

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Sir John Chilcot has released his report into the Iraq war today, seven years after the Chilcot Iraq Inquiry was launched. The report has also been published on-line.

In a statement held at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre in London to introduce the report, Chilcot said:

“It is now clear that policy on Iraq was made on the basis of flawed intelligence and assessments. They were not challenged, and they should have been”.

He also criticised the lack of forward planning, saying that:

“The British military contribution was not settled until mid-January 2003, when Mr Blair and Mr Hoon agreed the military’s proposals for an increase in the number of brigades to be deployed; and that they would operate in southern, not northern, Iraq.

There was little time to prepare three brigades and the risks were neither properly identified nor fully exposed to Ministers”.

He also added in his statement:

“Mr Blair told the Inquiry that the difficulties encountered in Iraq after the invasion could not have been known in advance. We do not agree that hindsight is required. The risks of internal strife in Iraq, active Iranian pursuit of its interests, regional instability, and Al Qaida activity in Iraq, were each explicitly identified before the invasion.

Ministers were aware of the inadequacy of US plans, and concerned about the inability to exert significant influence on US planning. Mr Blair eventually succeeded only in the narrow goal of securing President Bush’s agreement that there should be UN authorisation of the post-conflict role.

Furthermore, he did not establish clear Ministerial oversight of UK planning and preparation. He did not ensure that there was a flexible, realistic and fully resourced plan that integrated UK military and civilian contributions, and addressed the known risks.

The failures in the planning and preparations continued to have an effect after the invasion”.

Tony Blair, who was the Prime Minister from 1997 to 2007, said in a statement:

“The report should lay to rest allegations of bad faith, lies or deceit. Whether people agree or disagree with my decision to take military action against Saddam Hussein; I took it in good faith and in what I believed to be the best interests of the country”.

Blair Warns that Jeremy Corbyn Would be a “Dangerous Experiment”

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Tony Blair, the former Labour Prime Minister from 1997 until 2007, has said that Jeremy Corbyn would be “a dangerous experiment” as Prime Minister.

Speaking to the BBC’s This Week’s World Blair said:

“It would be a very dangerous experiment for a major western country to get gripped by this type of populist policy-making, left or right”.

He added:

“I do think the centre ground needs to work out how it recovers, how it gets its mojo back, and gets the initiative back in the political debate because otherwise, these guys aren’t providing answers, not on the economy, not on foreign policy”.

Jeremy Corbyn’s office declined to comment.

Former PM Tony Blair Calls for Ground Troops to Defeat ISIS

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Tony Blair, the Prime Minister from 1997 until 2007, has called on ground forces to be used to defeat ISIS in Syria and Iraq. He fell short of saying that British and allied countries should send troops on the front line but he said that they could support local military forces.

Blair said at a conference in London:

“There is no way of defeating these people without defeating them on the ground. Air strikes are not going to defeat Isis, they have got to be tackled on the ground,” he said at the event in Westminster”.

He added:

“You have got to defeat these people on the ground. The armed forces of America, the UK, France, other major countries have both experience and capability so even if we are using them in support of local forces, you have just got to decide what our objective is. Is our objective to defeat this enemy? My answer to that is yes”.

Blair didn’t comment on the Chilcot Report, which is to be published next month, but he said on the invasion of Iraq over which he presided:

“We underestimated profoundly the forces that were at work in the region and that would take advantage of the change once you topple the regime”.

Ken Livingstone says that Tony Blair was responsible for the 7/7 killings

Ken Livingstone, the former London Mayor, has said that Tony Blair should take responsibility for the 7/7 killings in London. The terrorist attack took place in the capital on 7 July 2005 with 52 people being killed and over 700 injured.

Speaking on BBC’s Question Time Livingstone said:

“They gave their lives, they said what they believed, they took Londoners lives in protest against our invasion of Iraq”.

Matt Forde, a former Labour adviser who was also on the programme said:

“Blame it on the people who carried out the atrocity”.

Mike Gapes, the Labour MP for Ilford South called the comments “despicable”.

Tony Blair launches another attack on Jeremy Corbyn

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Tony Blair, the Prime Minister from 1997 to 2007, has written a third article urging Labour Party members not to vote for Jeremy Corbyn in the Labour leadership contest.

In an article written for the Observer the former Prime Minister. In the article he wrote that Corbyn’s politics were “Alice in Wonderland” and added:

“People like me have a lot of thinking to do. We don’t yet properly understand this. It is about to transform a political institution we spent our whole lives defending. But it is part of something much bigger in politics.

Because it is a vast wave of feeling against the unfairness of globalisation, against elites, against the humdrum navigation of decision-making in an imperfect world, it persuades itself that it has a monopoly on authenticity. They’re “telling it like it is”, when, of course, they’re telling it like it isn’t”.

Jeremy Corbyn says Labour should apologise for the Iraq War

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Jeremy Corbyn, one of the four candidates to lead the Labour Party, has said that if he was elected he would apologise on behalf of the party for the Iraq War.

Tony Blair, the then Prime Minister, took the UK into war in Iraq in 2003 and neither he or other Labour leaders have apologised for the intervention.

Corbyn said in an article for the Guardian newspaper:

“So it is past time that Labour apologised to the British people for taking them into the Iraq war on the basis of deception and to the Iraqi people for the suffering we have helped cause. Under our Labour, we will make this apology”.

He added that if he were leader “the UK would never again flout the United Nations and international law”.

Yvette Cooper criticises Corbyn’s “old solutions to old problems”

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Yvette Cooper, one of Labour’s leadership candidates, has strongly criticised the policies of one of her rivals Jeremy Corbyn and said that he has “old solutions to old problems”.

Cooper said in her speech:

“So tell me what you think is more radical. Bringing back clause IV, spending billions of pounds we haven’t got switching control of some power stations from a group of white middle-aged men in an energy company to a group of white middle-aged men in Whitehall, as Jeremy wants? Or extending Sure Start, giving mothers the power and confidence to transform their own lives and transform their children’s lives for years to come?”.

The comments in Cooper’s speech come shortly after a plea was made by Tony Blair, the former Prime Minister, saying that a Corbyn victory could annihilate the Labour party. The Corbyn team distanced itself from Blair’s comments saying that they wanted a positive campaign but hasn’t yet responded to the speech made by Cooper.

The other two candidates in the Labour leadership race are Liz Kendall and Andy Burnham,