Blair survives, thanks to the Tories

TONY Blair tonight won the Second Reading vote on the controversial Education Bill - but only because it was supported by the Tories.By 458 votes to 115, MPs backed the measure, with around 51 Labour rebels believed to have voted against the Bill.

By Graham Dines

TONY Blair tonight won the Second Reading vote on the controversial Education Bill - but only because it was supported by the Tories.

By 458 votes to 115, MPs backed the measure, with around 51 Labour rebels believed to have voted against the Bill.

Such an outcome, having to rely on the support of the principal opposition party to carry legislation, is highly damaging to his authority.


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Up to 100 Labour backbenchers were initially opposed to the reforms aimed at giving "trust" schools greater freedom and independence from local education authority control. But ministerial concessions on admissions policy, selection and the role of local authorities in building new schools won many back into the fold.

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