Blair's Babes exit stage left

ONE by One, the Blair Babes are deserting Gordon Brown's sinking administration. He is being cast adrift to meet his fate in the knowledge that many of the highly intelligent and deep thinking women, MPs, especially those who were part of the 1997 landslide, believe that the Prime Minister is a lost cause.

Graham Dines

ONE by One, the Blair Babes are deserting Gordon Brown's sinking administration. He is being cast adrift to meet his fate in the knowledge that many of the highly intelligent and deep thinking women, MPs, especially those who were part of the 1997 landslide, believe that the Prime Minister is a lost cause.

Jane Kennedy yesterday became the latest to bale out. The environment minister said she'd been forced to do so because she would not give an assurance of loyalty to Gordon Brown. And she slammed the Downing Street junta which was smearing Labour's own ministers, which she compared to the “bullying” of Labour activists by Militant on Merseyside in the 1980s.

There are some exceptions. The ice cool Yvette Cooper - Mrs Ed Balls - will be in the bunker alongside her husband and they'll be joined by East of England minister Barbara Follett and Brown's parliamentary private secretary and Basildon MP Angela Smith whenever the decline and fall of the administration comes about.

Labour was routed in Essex and it is fitting that the party's only county councillor left standing is Julie Young, re-elected in the Colchester St Andrew's & Wivenhoe division. If anyone can stand up for herself against the phalanx of Tories against led by Lord Hanningfield, then Mrs Young is that person.

By default, she is leader of the Labour group of one, with the Liberal Democrats becoming the main opposition party at county hall in Chelmsford.

Most Read

She recognises the difficulty of the next four years. “I shall continue representing local people to the best of my ability which is what I always have done.”

She was appalled at the abuse she and her colleagues received on the doorsteps of the county when they went canvassing. “I have never in my life been abused as much as I have in the last six weeks. People seemed to think that because you are a politician, you can be sworn at and called every name under the sun.

“People who have worked with me have been called cheats and liars and been sworn at when they have just been trying to deliver leaflets.”

Good luck to her, and also to Kathy Pollard - who as Liberal Democrat leader in Suffolk becomes the county's opposition spokesman after Labour's rout - and to Vicky Ford, the Conservative Euro MP elected to Brussels for the first time in the European elections.

WITH no disrespect to Judy Terry, the Tory victor in Ipswich Rushmere division of the county council, I was deeply sorry to witness the demise of Sue Thomas, who for 20 years had been a Labour councillor in Suffolk.

I've known Sue from almost day one of taking over this job 13 years' ago. Her daughter Katy, whom I'm pleased to report is making a full recovery after a recent very serious illness, and my son Nick studied politics together at sixth form before she went to Plymouth and he headed to the University of Essex.

She was one of the few genuinely nice people in politics and I wish her well in the future.

Follow Graham Dines on Twitter