Press Association -Sunday May 8, 2005
Labour MPs urge Blair to quit
Several Labour MPs have called on Tony Blair to quit Downing Street long before he completes a full third term in Number 10.
Speculation has been mounting that Mr Blair will come under pressure to leave his post since Thursday's General Election significantly reduced Labour's Commons majority, from 161 to a projected 66.
Labour left-winger Jeremy Corbyn, the MP for Islington North, predicted that Mr Blair - who has said he intends to serve one more full term - could be out of Downing Street within a year.
He said: "The idea that we're going to go for several years with a Prime Minister who's said he's going to resign at some point is really not acceptable."
John Austin, the MP for Erith and Thamesmead, told The Sunday Times: "He (Mr Blair) was a liability and not an asset in this election. You can't beat about the bush. Blair was a negative factor on the doorstep, time and time and time again.
"We need a mechanism like the Tories where the grandees go round and tell the leader it is time for him to go. I think it was somewhat arrogant to say he was going to continue with a full term."
Ian Davidson, the MP for Glasgow South West, said: "It needs to happen sooner rather than later."A natural break point might be the result of the referendum on the European Constitution (due to be held in spring next year). I would favour a quicker transition. The sooner we could have a reasonably smooth handover, the better."John McDonnell, chairman of the Socialist Campaign group and the MP for Hayes and Harlington, said: "In terms of Tony Blair's rating personally on the doorstep, I encountered absolute animosity right across the board, you could cut it with a knife. In terms of Gordon Brown, people just want change. Blair has announced that he's going. This result makes it dramatically sooner rather than later. Brown looks as if he's a shoo-in."
Bob Wareing, MP for Liverpool West Derby, said: "I think the chickens are coming home to roost for Blair. I am hoping the succession will happen as soon as possible."