It’s been a tough day for Tony Blair, as the pressure on him to quit mounts:
- Two letters have been written by the 2001 and 2005 intake of MPs respectively, calling on him to quit – one of which has been sent.
- The authors of the letters above include junior ministers (which does rather beg the question of why they didn’t resign at the same time if they have no confidence in their boss).
- His own ministers have been going around telling the world he’ll be gone by the Autumn 2007 Party conference
- The Sun newspaper has this morning published its exclusive on Blair’s plans to quit – apprently he’ll step down as party leader on May 31st 2007, and as Prime Minister July 26 2007. These dates fall just after his 10th anniversary in Number 10, which re-inforces the speculation that his resignation date is about personal vanity, rather than the good of the country.
Frankly, I can’t see him surviving beyond this year’s Party conference, let alone staying on until the middle of next year.
His only hope of keeping back the mob that is baying for his blood is to directly announce – at the party conference at the very latest – his intention to quit, and a firm timetable for this.
If Blair can’t bring himself to stop dodging the issue, he will almost certainly face a leadership challenge at the conference from a party that knows it will otherwise be seen by the public as a bunch of snivelling cowards. The challenge probably won’t be from Gordon Brown in person – he has all the political courage of a squashed tomato – but by a stalking horse.