This morning’s Telegraph was one of a number of newspapers to report mounting calls for Parliament to be recalled. Half of the 170 MPs who have called for a return of Parliament are Labour. Tony Blair’s inner circle fears that a recall will be used by dissident Labour MPs to attack his support for Israel and, perhaps, to marshall renewed calls for him to quit Downing Street early. A hint of the temperature of opinion on Labour’s backbenches comes from an article by Kitty Ussher in this week’s New Statesman. Before becoming an MP last year Ms Ussher was hardly a left-wing
firebrand. She was an economist for Britain in Europe
and special adviser to Patricia Hewitt. You know that the PM is in
trouble when the likes of Ms Ussher write that "the only conclusion any right-minded
person can draw is that the Prime Minister thought it was OK for Muslims to keep dying." Very strong stuff.
Tony Blair fears that any recall of parliament without a UN resolution – or a substantial de-escalation of the fighting in Lebanon – risks exposing him to massive Labour unrest. Government backbenchers like Joan Ruddock (formerly of CND) have already warned that Labour MPs are more unhappy at their leader’s stance on this issue than they are over Iraq.
As for the Tory position? The Telegraph reports David Davis as saying that Parliament should not be recalled on the back of yesterday’s events but that there are arguments for MPs debating the Israel-Hezbollah-Lebanon conflict.
Related link: WhenWillBlairGo.com?