Labour Party in deep crisis

TONY Blair may try to put the difficulties of the past few days behind him today and “get on with doing the job” but there can be no glossing over the fact that the Labour Party is in deep crisis.

By Graham Dines

TONY Blair may try to put the difficulties of the past few days behind him today and “get on with doing the job” but there can be no glossing over the fact that the Labour Party is in deep crisis.

The pressure on three of his key Cabinet ministers is not going to go away as the Conservatives and Fleet Street scent blood and do everything they can to exploit Labour's difficulties.

Questions will be asked in Parliament on whether Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott breached the ministerial code over his affair with civil service secretary Tracey Temple.

Mr Blair's claim that it was a private matter was dismissed by Tory MPs who questioned whether Mr Prescott had abused his official residence by allegedly entertaining Ms Temple there. It's likely that Mr Prescott will face a Whitehall investigation after Sir Alastair Graham, the head of the committee on standards in public life, said the involvement of civil servant was involved raised a number of issues.

Embattled Home Secretary Charles Clarke is clinging on to his political career by the thinnest of threads as the probation service and police tried to track down foreign criminals after more than 1,000 were mistakenly released into the community.

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If any of these assorted rapists, murders, and paedophiles reoffends, then Mr Clarke will have to go.

Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt, who was booed off the stage during a conference speech to nurses on Wednesday, faces a searching inquiry by MPs into the scale of NHS debts.

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