Friday, July 3, 1998 Published at 05:49 GMT 06:49 UK
Major attacks Blair over 'dumbing down'
Major: rigorous debate should be in the Commons
The former Prime Minister John Major has launched a scathing attack on Tony Blair's conduct in office, accusing him of dumbing down the standards of political debate.
He told Asian business leaders at the Cafe Royal in London: "It's all very well to appear on the Des O'Connor Show or the Richard and Judy sofa and it has its place, I don't knock it.
"And it's not, I hope, disrespectful to Mr O'Connor or to Richard and Judy to say that they should not be the main shop window of presenting the policies of an elected government to the nation that elected them.
"Call me old fashioned if you will, but I would like to know a little more about how the government will deal with the oncoming recession in manufacturing industry - a recession made in Downing Street that may well be worsened by events in the Far East.
"I'd like to know how they are going to deal with that and rather less about their views on football, the Spice Girls, Cool Britannia, the freedom of Deirdre Rachid from Coronation Street or the people's this or the people's that or whatever the soundbite of the day might be.
"I somehow can't imagine Mr Gladstone, Mr Disraeli, Mr Attlee or Mr Churchill dumbing down politics in the way the present government are doing."
Later, Downing Street issued a statement rejecting Mr Major's remarks.
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