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Last Updated: Friday, 29 June 2007, 09:05 GMT 10:05 UK
Short hints at return to Labour
Clare Short
Clare Short has been an independent MP since October 2006
Former Labour minister Clare Short has hinted that she may rejoin the party in Parliament as new Prime Minister Gordon Brown ushers in a "new beginning".

She officially left the Labour group of MPs last year, accusing then PM Tony Blair of deceit over the Iraq War. She has since been an independent MP.

But she said she was hopeful of change under Mr Brown, including in health, education and Mid-East policies.

"Who knows, I might take the whip back before I leave Parliament," she said.

Better policy

"I very much hope that this is going to be a new beginning," said the former international development secretary of Mr Brown's leadership in an interview with BBC Radio 4's The World Tonight.

"We look for a new and better Middle East policy, we're not so obsessed with being in America's pocket, and the slimming down of the centralised diktat bureaucracy of the health service and education.

If she wants to sign up to our whip and our policies and vote for our legislation then that probably will be a great thing, but we shall see
Hazel Blears
Communities Secretary

"I think all that may happen and if it does - who knows, I might take the whip back before I leave Parliament," she told the BBC.

The Birmingham Ladywood MP resigned the Labour whip in a letter to then Chief Whip, Jacqui Smith, who has since been appointed Home Secretary by Mr Brown.

A month before her October 2006 resignation she had been severely reprimanded for speaking out in favour of a hung parliament - a breach of the Parliamentary Labour Party's code of conduct.

HAVE YOUR SAY
Very much like the Spice Girls' comeback. Out of tune, out of touch and out of new lyrics
T. Newman, Bournemouth

But the party decided against expelling her over the remarks. Hazel Blears, recently appointed as Communities Secretary, was party chairman when Ms Short resigned.

"I was pleased that Clare said she thought it was a good reshuffle, that she thought there would be a sense of a new style of government.

"She made a great contribution to the party and it was a great pity that she chose to leave in the way that she did," Ms Blears said.

"If she wants to sign up to our whip and our policies and vote for our legislation then that probably will be a great thing, but we shall see."




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