Following the Prime Minister’s announcement to the Cabinet that he is to resign, Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ming Campbell has called for an immediate General Election:
“Before the last General Election Tony Blair pledged to serve a full third term and the British electorate voted for him on this basis.
“Now the Prime Minister is leaving it is only right that the British public have their say on who will be their next Prime Minister.
“Today my colleagues and I have submitted a motion to trigger a general election.”
Commenting on Tony Blair’s legacy Menzies Campbell described his premiership as a decade of missed opportunities:
“Tony Blair has been the first Labour Prime Minister to win three consecutive general elections and he will be rightly remembered for this.
“Yet overall his period in office can only be characterised as a decade of missed opportunities in which the hopes of the British people for a new kind of politics were shattered.
“Today politics is more devalued than ever; the gap between rich and poor is wider than it was under Margaret Thatcher; personal debt is spiralling out of control; hospitals are in deficit; and the UK is at the bottom of the UNICEF league table for child well-being.
“These are the failures of the Blair premiership and failure of New Labour.”
Menzies Campbell emphasised that it will be Tony Blair’s decision to invade Iraq will define his legacy. He said:
“Iraq will be the defining feature of Mr Blair’s premiership. The greatest foreign policy mistake since Suez in 1956 has led to the death and injury tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians, the tragic loss of life of over a hundred and forty British service personnel and brought instability and insecurity throughout the Middle East.”