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Last Updated: Tuesday, 27 June 2006, 00:06 GMT 01:06 UK
Key quotes: Clarke's anger
Charles Clarke
Mr Clarke was sacked as home secretary in May
Charles Clarke has used a series of interviews to express his anger at being sacked from his role as home secretary.

Here are some of key quotes made by Mr Clarke as he criticises his successor John Reid for his attack on the Home Office and warns that Tony Blair has "lost his sense of purpose".


Mr Clarke told BBC Two's Newsnight he reacted to the news of his dismissal by telling the prime minister: "'Well I'm not ready to take another job'".

"He did offer me other jobs - I'm not going into the detail, but he did, and I felt I shouldn't accept them because I had pledged to myself first of all, but also to the Parliament and to the country that I would resolve this problem.

"I felt angry with the situation - I didn't feel particularly angry with him as such, even though I thought he took a wrong decision.

"I was angry and frustrated because I felt that this massive task - an enormous task - a great privilege to be asked to be home secretary at the general election, needed to be carried through over a three-to-four year period and I believed I could do that.

"I believe I should do that and I wanted the chance and opportunity to do that, and so yes, I was angry and frustrated when that chance was removed."


"If you are going to reform the Home Office over a three or four-year period there are going to be a large number of issues that are controversial and difficult but we have to carry through that reform programme."

"The home secretary of the day should not simply be running on the bandwagon of some particular media campaign.

"If we simply say there is a media campaign and we just cave into that whenever it comes along, that is a very bad state of affairs for our democracy."

"It is very important that the home secretary does his very best to give confidence to the country that the criminal justice system is working properly and effectively and well."


"I think he came in, as every incoming secretary of state is entitled to do and said it as he saw it.

"It is just that I don't agree with his analysis of what he saw."

"I used to describe myself as tough, but not populist. Each home secretary has to decide his own style."


"At heart, the key issue for me as home secretary, as I discussed with the prime minister when I was appointed in 2005, was to really carry through the massive reforms which are necessary," he told the BBC.

"And I think I set out on that path with some success."

"It was a department which had its problems, but I think a department whose problems were being addressed and could easily have been solved over the couple of years time frame that I have described.

"The overall picture of a department not fit for purpose in any of the respects he [John Reid] described, I think, is and was fundamentally wrong and I think John was wrong to use those descriptions as I told him before he gave evidence to the select committee.

"I think most people would say, and I certainly feel myself, that I was a reforming home secretary committed to making the reforms necessary.

"I'm not going to take responsibility for all the crises after I left. I do believe that there are major issues which need to be resolved in certain areas and John [Reid] is going about that, I'm sure, very well. But I also believe that the foundations are very much in place."

In the Times newspaper he warned that Mr Reid's use of the phrase "not fit for purpose" had "put the spotlight on what our enemies would claim is the failure of nine years of Tony Blair's leadership - tough on crime and tough on the causes of crime".


Mr Clarke told the Times: "I do think there is a sense of Tony having lost his sense of purpose and direction, so my advice to him is to recover that sense of purpose and direction and that remains the best option."

He continued: "Gordon also needs that sense of leadership and direction about where the party is going and how it is moving forward and that is what we are lacking at the moment."

Mr Clarke also told BBC Radio 4's On The Ropes: "The best option would be for Tony to recover that leadership and authority and direction and to carry that through over a period of time, in my view.

"Whether he is able to do that - because he has been damaged by recent events - whether he wants to do that, is not a matter for me, really.

"I simply observe there are a lot of doubts about it and I share some of those, that's true. But I still think that is the best way to go forward."


He told the BBC: "I want to contribute to making the process of change in the country and the party - which is what I have been doing for the last 25 years.

"What matters to me is to have a government - a Labour government - which makes change and carries things through in the interests of the country.

"It is not a condition of my life that I should serve in a government again, in any form."

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