What we think
Mo Mowlam forced out by new labour
No room if your face doesn't fit
"MOST POPULAR minister quits-driven out by a bunch of jealous, selfish, paranoid, less able and far less popular colleagues." That was the Mirror's verdict this week on Mo Mowlam's announcement that she will stand down at the next election.
The paper's front page on Tuesday showed Mowlam being stabbed in the back. It summed up the dismay many Labour supporters felt at the news of her retirement. To many, Mowlam represents an alternative face to Tony Blair's domination of the Labour Party.
She did not like the "spin doctoring" favoured by Blair's inner circle. Nor did she conform to the "Blair's Babes" image of New Labour women. She admitted to smoking cannabis while at university and suggested the royal family should move out of Buckingham Palace.
For Blair and his close allies, these qualities are not a good advert for New Labour. Blair sacked her from the top government job in Northern Ireland last year because the Unionists hated her so much. He then sidelined Mowlam by giving her the non-job of Cabinet Office minister.
Mowlam admits there has been a whispering campaign against her. But unfortunately she also insists this has not forced her out. She is no champion of the left inside the Labour Party. She backs the New Labour project.
She wanted to be Blair's campaign manager when he stood to be Labour Party leader. And she also led a party charm offensive on big business in the City of London. But New Labour is so rotten even loyal troopers like Mo Mowlam are not welcome if their face does not fit.
Blair is now clearing out anyone not completely wedded to the New Labour project in the run-up to the next election.