BBC Home
Explore the BBC
BBC News
Launch consoleBBC NEWS CHANNEL
Last Updated: Saturday, 6 May 2006, 11:22 GMT 12:22 UK
In quotes: Reshuffle reaction
Tony Blair's comprehensive Cabinet reshuffle has come under fire from critics. Here is how some key players have reacted to the changes and the local election results.

GERALDINE SMITH, LABOUR BACKBENCHER

"Most people were astonished by this reshuffle. We have had excellent ministers like Jack Straw, and he is just side-lined, while people like John Prescott remain in their post without the responsibilities of office...

"The pressure on Tony Blair will be enormous next week and I think the reshuffle has caused more problems than it solves."

GEOFF HOON, EUROPE MINISTER

"John Prescott's experience, his grasp of the subject, means that he's actually superb. I've been in any number of cabinet committees where he's been in the chair, sorting out these issues, actually ensuring that these kinds of debates that necessarily take place inside government are resolved sensibly and satisfactorily."

MICHAEL HESELTINE, FORMER TORY DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER

"This is the reshuffle of a prime minister in terminal decline.

"He obviously wanted to make some major changes, but he can't sack anybody, except in the extreme case, and so he's humiliated three of his senior cabinet ministers. I never remember anything like this happening before."

HAZEL BLEARS, NEW LABOUR CHAIRWOMAN

"The prime minister has said pretty clearly that he's got a huge amount to do, he wants to serve a full term.

"He's said that he wouldn't stand again at the next election, so clearly at some point we will have a transfer to a new leader of the Labour party.

"And to be honest with you there have always been people, right from the very beginning of our government who haven't necessarily supported the prime minister.

"They're entitled to their air-time but again, I really do think it's important that we concentrate on things that are important to the public."

GRAHAM STRINGER, LABOUR BACKBENCHER

"Tony Blair in a sense does not have the responsibility of knowing that the decisions he makes now will influence the way people vote in the general election in three or four years time.

"I don't like that really. I think it lets him take dangerous and risky decisions that aren't good for the Labour Party and aren't good for the country.

"He brought that on himself by saying he would not fight the next election. That is why I want a relatively quick, ordered transfer to the new leader."

ANDREW SMITH, FORMER LABOUR MINISTER

"I think the sooner we see a timetable for the orderly transition which the prime minister has promised the better.

"I am voicing the concerns which very many previously Labour supporters said to me on the doorstep. They said this has to be sorted out, things cannot go on like this."

NICK RAYNSFORD, FORMER LABOUR MINISTER

"There is a very clear feeling growing in the party that we would like clarity.

"And I think it is in the interests of the party that a timetable is set which allows the successor to have a good period of time to get the right team in place, for that team to bed down and to get on with the job for two or three years before the next general election so they really do have time to deliver on the government's priorities."

STEPHEN POUND, LABOUR MP

"What Tony Blair is concerned about is actually about legislating, it's about governing, it's being prime minister.

"I think it would be daft if he had this sort of time limit hanging over his head all the time.

"You're absolutely right to say the next election. That's legitimate, that's fair. But to have it beforehand when for heaven's sake, a year ago, he won the election. It would be bonkers."



[an error occurred while processing this directive]


PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific