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Last Updated: Sunday, 8 May, 2005, 16:35 GMT 17:35 UK
Ousted MP defects to the Tories
Former MP Helen Clark
Helen Clark criticised Tony Blair for his "remoteness"
Former MP Helen Clark has confirmed she is quitting Labour in protest at Tony Blair's style of government.

Mrs Clark, who lost her Peterborough seat to Tory candidate Stewart Jackson in the General Election, said she is applying to join the Conservatives.

She criticised the Prime Minister for his "remoteness" from backbenchers over the war in Iraq and top-up fees.

She added that the Peterborough Labour Party received inadequate financial support during the election campaign.

'War and fees'

In a letter to Mr Blair on Sunday, Mrs Clark writes: "During my eight years in Parliament, I have become increasingly frustrated with the conduct of your Labour government.

"Your workload is obviously very great but I was disappointed by the fact that you seemed so remote from your own backbenchers.

"This has led to disastrous escapades such as the imposition of student top-up fees and the war in Iraq.

She adds: "It is very sad that in the space of eight years I have gone from being proud to be elected as a Labour MP to believing that a one nation Conservative Party under a new leader would serve the country better and be more inclusive."

Mrs Clark's decision follows the defection of former Labour MP Brian Sedgemore to the Liberal Democrats.



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