Veteran Labour backbench MP Brian Sedgemore has defected to the Lib Dems.
Mr Sedgmore accused Tony Blair of "stomach turning lies" and said he wanted to give him a "bloody nose" at the polls.
The former member of the left wing Campaign group of Labour MPs, also claimed that other Labour MPs from the last Parliament were planning to leave the party.
What do you think of Brian Sedgemore's move to the Lib Dems? How will it affect Labour's campaign? Do you agree with his comments? Send us your comments.
This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments. You can read a selection of them below.
The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far:
Sedgemore is a Judas, who has either lived a lie or, he is trying to find a place in the history books before he is forgotten. The people who trusted him over the years will not forgive his betrayal. I would trust Tony Blair before either of the other party leaders.
Veteran Labour Member, England
An excellent man, not afraid to say what he thinks and dedicated to the people he represents. Good for him.
Peter Gourri, London
I feel Brian Sedgemore has done in public what a lot of people like me will do in private. Simply turn our backs on Labour come the election.
Malcolm Hobbs, Cambridge
Goodbye Brian. You knew before '97 that the only way Labour would get back to power was to totally change its direction. You stayed - but you didn't like it. You witnessed the miners being destroyed; now you want to scupper the Labour Government and allow the Tories to return. Shame on you.
How would you feel if after 30 years of service, your boss didn't know who you were? I find the party leadership's comments regarding the defection of Brian Sedgemore despicable.
Dudley Nelson, Ilkley, UK
One has to ask the question why does Blair stay at the helm when his credibility is shredded and Brown is an excellent replacement? Blair does what is right for himself, not the country.
Brian Sedgemore reflects the opinion of many traditional Labour voters and Labour Party Members. Many of us view the past eight years as having been lost to Blair's New Labour experiment. While Gordon Brown has done an excellent job on the economy, in all other areas of policy Blair has failed deliver the social change that the Country clearly demanded in 1997. The Labour Party should be worried, as those they have betrayed might well find a home for their vote with the Lib. Dems.
I for one cannot afford to be so self indulgent. We can't have the Tories. I hope he enjoys his big fat pension.
It would have been more to the point if he had done this at the relevant time when this was being debated in the Commons. Having decided to retire from the Commons, this now looks like sour grapes more than principle. But do we expect anything else from Labour or New Labour?
The issues Mr. Sedgemore complains about are in many cases a result of our membership of the EU Joining the Lib Dems, who would sign up to anything the EU throws at us, will only make matters worse.
K. Garner, London
Anyone who thinks this is more than a last gasp whisper from a retired nobody has probably already been sweet talked into voting Tory never mind Lib Dem. Listen out for the glug, glug as he sinks into obscurity where he belongs.
Brian Sedgemore was for many years the sort of honest, decent and hardworking MP whose ambition was purely for his constituents rather than his own career. His disillusionment with New Labour is shared by many people. As a constituent of Brian Sedgemore's in the 1980s, I canvassed for him and found universal warmth and respect for him amongst the public. Sadly I left the Labour Party some time ago when it left me behind along with it's principles.
Jacob Robson, Aylesbury
So Brian Sedgemore wants to give Tony Blair a bloody nose on May 5th. Perhaps he should reflect on the bloody nose that election of a Tory Government would give the working class he has served for so many years.
Dan Smith, Motherwell
I doubt the wisdom of Mr Sedgemore's political judgement. Does he really believe the Lib Dems offer a left-wing alternative to Labour? Dream on.
It's difficult to measure any advantage from having defected MP's in your party. It's the equivalent of having Paul Gasgoine joining Yeovil FC at say, 54. You know Yeovil FC will gain publicity from it, but can Gasgoine play as well as he once could? I didn't even know who he was until I heard it on the news.
Dan Byway, Frome, Somerset
Why did he wait until he was no longer an MP? If it wasn't for Tony Blair and New Labour Mr Sedgemore would not have been in the government for the past 8 years.
Brian Welsh, Aberdeen, Scotland
I am sick and tired of the ignorant criticism of Tony Blair's decision to go to war with Iraq. By so doing he showed great personal courage. If such foresight had been exercised during the 1930s when Hitler was looked upon as a harmless fool by the Britain's government of the day we may have been spared World War Two. Saddam Hussein was a clear and present danger to the world. He flouted UN resolution 1441 - which stated quite clearly that failure to comply would lead to serious consequences. Kennedy, Howard and co have shown how shallow they are with their personal attacks on the Prime Minister.
Nick Webley, East Dereham
I am glad he has spoken out at last and wish all the other Labour MP's who feel the same way would too and not wait until after the election. Blair and his cronies, elected and non-elected must be ousted for all our sakes.
After seeing this man perform on a lot of occasions, Tony Blair must be well pleased. It's a pity that he hasn't taken some of his friends with him.
Pat, Poole, Dorset
I have voted Labour all my life but totally agree with Brian Sedgemore and as for Mr Blair and Mr Prescott stating who is Brian, anyone who is a Labour supporter will have heard of him. As for Mr Blair trying to frighten people into voting for him by saying if we do not we will let in the Tory Party? If they get in I will blame him. Like Thatcher his nemesis is that he does not know when to resign. Joan Osborn (aged 71)
Joan Osborn, Doncaster, UK
How sad - he didn't even have the strength of his convictions to resign when it could have mattered. Enjoy your retirement Mr Sedgemore, Parliament is better without you.
David, Purley, Surrey
Man who's already politically dead falls on his sword. What a triumph for the Lib Dems.
Let's face it, all 'real' Labour supporters are actually hoping for a strong Lib Dem vote so that a Labour government with a smaller majority will have to reconsider proposed extreme policies such as ID cards etc. It would be the best thing to happen to this country for many years!!! As for this talk of the Conservatives slipping in through the back door... it's absolute rubbish. They haven't got a hope and are politically dead and buried for at least the next decade!
Mr I Grimes, Birmingham
I can only say that I am surprised that many more have not defected. I thought we lived in a democracy not the authoritarian, presidential state this is rapidly becoming.
Compare the political principals of Robin Cook and Brian Sedgemore. Mr Cook lived and stood by his, Sedgemore has proven today that he has none. He's proved to be as opportunistic as Michael Howard - they both should be consigned to political and historical ignominy.
Stephen Doyle, Forres, Scotland
I take my hat off to Brian, it's about time the true Labour MP's declared the same. Tony Blair has never been interested in the Labour Party and never will. Tony is interested in Tony. Come on Old Labour show your faces.
John Scott, Worksop, Notts
So the Lib Dems have become more left wing than Labour? Tee hee - who came up with that one? The nice ladies and gentlemen who man the stall on my High Street hardly look like foot soldiers of socialism. I spent eight years on the local council and they always struck me as well meaning Tories. Sedgemore is irrelevant to British politics and has been for 20 years at least. Get real.
Better late than never I suppose. It's hard to disagree with his assessment of Tony Blair and his colleagues, just a shame it took him so long to do anything about it. Still, I hope it galvanises more voters to desert Labour until they elect a leader with even just a tiny shred of integrity.
Gordon, Edinburgh, UK
Hell hath no fury like a backbencher scorned. How an avowed left winger can justify joining a party whose policies must be as far away from that of a socialist party is beyond comprehension. An unknown backbencher seeking one day of glory can be the sole reason.
CW Miller, Ashford, Kent
Mr Sedgemore is hardly a loss to the Labour Party. He had extreme left wing views in many areas and is standing down at the election as a candidate. He must be amazed at the publicity he is generating. Big deal I say!
Gary Stewart, Clydebank, Dunbartonshire
I want to see Mr Sedgemore throwing his support behind the Lib Dem candidate in his constituency. A lot of the constituents will trust his opinion, and vote accordingly.
Lucy Jones, Manchester
It says a great deal about the Lib Dems that someone on the left of the Labour Party joins them. Undoubtedly the Lib Dems are somewhere to the left of the Labour government these days. Perhaps when Robert Jackson defected from the Tories to Labour, he dismissed the Lib Dems as too extreme. It's a funny old world.
Peter, Hitchin, Herts
A pathetic attention seeking temper tantrum. If he has such strong moral scruples why wait until now when he has retired? He would have shown more integrity if he not waited two years - but then think of the salary he would have lost. This is more about him than about Iraq. So nice to see that even his morals are from the gutter and wallet. Perhaps he should have defected to the Tories.
Sedgemore's chosen specialist subject was economics. In the 1970s he devised an alternative economic strategy which comprised import controls, directed investment, compulsory planning "agreements" with industry, price controls and the nationalisation of the largest 25 companies. I wonder if he can sell this socialist nonsense to his new political allies? It's possible.
The way Labour have reacted to this event, by being so rude about one of their longest standing MPs shows just what contempt they hold for their very own MPs and the electorate as a whole. As if it mattered whether anyone had or hadn't heard of this MP: the fact is, he was serving for Labour for years and was voted into parliament by an electorate.
Peter Farrer, Brighton
I don't care whether Mr Sedgemore was motivated by conscience or publicity - anything that helps get rid of Blair has got to be good. Blair is the new Thatcher and his time has come!
Harry Lee, London, England
Sedgefield deserting Labour will give Tony a "bloody nose" at the polls. Sedgemore deserting Labour will not.
Jon, Newcastle upon Tyne
It's difficult not to see him as a sad and ridiculous figure - a non entity trying to do maximum damage to a party he has ostensibly supported for many years, with not enough courage to defect until he retires.
Russell Brimelow, Oxford
The Liberal Demoracts need more than one defection from Labour's ranks for them to cut their majority and stage a modest increase in the number of seats they need to unbuckle Blair's third term in power. Let us hope though that this is a slow inexorable shift that will stop another Labour landslide. Somehow I doubt that it is.
Richard Morris, Foxearth, Essex
People like Brian Sedgemore are only happy in permanent opposition. Perhaps he'll have further opportunities to oppose the government from the Lib Dem benches of the House of Lords? Or am I being to cynical about his sudden change of heart?
A commendable act Mr Sedgemore, but too-little too-late. The message his defection creates is diluted by the timing and circumstances. However, this shouldn't cloud the overriding importance of voting Lib Dem on May 5th. It's time we had a socially responsible government that isn't built on lies and spin.
Whilst I agree with much of what Mr Sedgemore says, I find his defection nauseating and cowardly in the extreme. He took the money for 30 years and now has the gall at the very last moment to act - disgusting. It has redoubled my determination to vote Labour and to ask other supporters to vote Labour.
Andy, Wood Green
Unless Blair falls upon his sword and Brown takes over in the next eight days, I'm following Sedgemore's advice and voting Lib Dem instead of Labour this time. I know others who feel the same.
Anne Cowan, Scotland
How two faced can Mr Sedgemore be? He retires from the Commons and then defects to the Liberals. I bet he waited to get his commons pension before he retired. This is outrages of someone in public life to behave.
Peter Singh, Ilford Essex
Yes I do agree with him, one of the reasons I will not vote Labour again and have firmly shifted my political alliance to the Liberal Democrats, is that they are the only politicians I have any faith in at all now.
Colin Wright, UK
I find it surprising to say the least that Brian Sedgemore has defected to the Lib Dems. He says that his concerns with the Labour party are about erosion of freedoms and yet he turns to a political party that would hand the country over, lock stock and barrel to be run by in the main a load of unelected and undemocratic EU elite. What hypocrisy. If he is really concerned about freedom, I would have had more respect for his opinion if he had gone to UKIP.
Allen Hanley, Stoke
Brian Sedgemore is a nonentity who has voted against the government time and time again. The Labour Party will be glad to see the back of him.
Colin Wiles, Cambridge
Something of a poisoned chalice for Kennedy to accept-it has often looked as though the Lib Dems are farther to the left than Labour, and this won't help dispel that perception.
Martin Brand, London
Norman Claringbull, Southampton
Obviously a career move. Okay, so he is not standing for re-election, but what political career plan does he have in mind? Obviously, he would do better disassociating himself with a party which is obviously falling in popularity. I don't agree with him politically but what an astute businessman. 10/10!
Karen Smith, London
Brian Sedgemore has been part of the Labour Party for 27 years. Regardless of whether he is standing for re-election or not the current government ministers should be ashamed at their school boy, smug remarks at someone who was in their party long before they came along. How arrogant and rude of them to shrug off 27 years of experience and belief, just because Mr Sedgemore never made it as high up the pecking order as they did.
Why did Sedgemore leave it until now to defect? If he was so fed up with Labour over the war, he should have gone when it happened. Instead of which, his constituency has had to put up with a semi-detached MP. Thank goodness he's leaving parliament.
Blair betrayed every last vestige of Labour principles when he joined George Bush's crusade against Iraq. Many lifelong Labour voters will follow Sedgemore's example.
Rufus Heron, London
Disgraceful in the middle of the election campaign, he should have done it before it started.
J M Hirst, Durham
I totally agree that Tony Blair is guilty of lying, not just on WMD but many issues. He can go on about being cleared by public enquiries but he has the ultimate say on who is the judge. That is the privilege of government. If any of us went to trial, would we be allowed to pick the judge that best suits us?
Steve P, Wokingham
Well done Mr Sedgemore. Perhaps if a few more of his former Labour colleagues threatened to do the same, Mr Blair might have to reconsider some of the totally unacceptable and illiberal policies he intends to implement.
Andrew Watson, Bristol
How typical of Blair and Prescott to say: "Who's ever heard of Brian before?" Is that what they think of all their back bench ministers?
His resignation has obviously caused a great deal of upset amongst Labour supporters. He has acted correctly to pick the perfect moment to make his point about Iraq. The Labour party was clearly hoping Iraq would disappear as a key issue, but anything can happen when you invade a country illegally, against the wishes of the majority of those who you represent.
William Warbrick, London
What a coward. Voters should see this as the last bitter and vengeful act from a man not good enough to serve in government, who wanted to make his name. Good riddance.
Typical spineless politician. He should have had the guts to say it before he retired.
V Hinds, London
Brian Sedgemore's comments are not significant to an election, but Tony Blair's are. It is yet another example of his and the government's disdain for any views but their own.
Neil Bateman, Twickenham
A vain, self-indulgent, hypocritical old windbag. I presume he wishes to draw attention to himself at the last moment and also hopes to ruin Meg Hillier's chances of winning his former seat.
I am thinking what he's thinking! I only wish the other MPs he claims are planning to leave would do so now.
Hilary Forrester, Brighton, UK
Can anyone remind us of this man's achievements? He barely spoke up about anything over the years, and now is being presented as a big noise. What a ridiculous gesture, gathering unwarranted attention.
Steve Whittaker, Manchester
How relevant are political defections? When the one defecting is doing so a couple of weeks before a general election and is not standing for re-electio, not remotely. Since Parliament was dissolved, he's not even an MP. He is merely a former MP making one last gasp attempt to grab the headlines before he fades even further into obscurity.
Ollie, Leeds, UK
Why if he felt so strongly about this issue did he not defect at the time? By doing this he has marked his retirement from frontline politics with a bang - so is he just playing the publicity game much like the New Labour machine he apparently despises?
Ben Costello, Bristol
Brian Sedgemore has undoubtedly waited until he thought he could do the most damage. But what did Tony Blair expect? Blair has ignored his back benches repeatedly. If he has shown no regard for Mr Sedgmore, why should Mr Sedgemore feel loyalty to Tony Blair?
Steve, London, UK
Yesterday's man with yesterday's agenda. Is anyone actually going to listen to this embittered man who clearly has an axe to grind?
Mark Arnold, UK
As a long time Labour Party member who resigned shortly before the Iraq war, I understand where Brian Sedgemore is coming from. I have a (New) Labour MP who has supported the war and all the other issues that have dismayed me. And yet, the only candidate likely to benefit from Labour defections here is the Tory. But a Tory is -just - worse than a New Labour loyalist. So, what do I do?
Toby Barrett, Worcester, UK
One of the reasons given for his defection is the Iraq war. If he felt that strongly about it he should have resigned a couple of years ago. The labour party can well do without people like him.
John Dickson, Peterborough, England
Brian Sedgemore means Labour loses yet another man of integrity.... but on the flip side Lib Dems get ever stronger as a result. Call me old fashioned, but integrity wins over "spin" every time.
Sharon Wilkinson, Hemel Hempstead, UK
I do not understand the criticism of Mr Sedgemore because his views have changed over time. We, as voters, do not have to keep voting for the same party that we did the first time we voted, so why are MP's views not allowed to change.
Graham, Aberdeen, Scotland
The party power systems are destroying democracy in the UK. It is of dubious value voting for your local candidate however honest and committed to the local electorate. If he wants to be an MP he will have to toe the party line which may well be formulated by non elected "advisors". Sedgemore can probably only now say what he thinks about the party which has changed from the one he joined. We should be concerned about the progress of democracy in the UK never mind Iraq.
Ed Smith, Nottingham, UK
Brian Sedgemore is my MP. I think this gesture is totally pathetic. He's not even standing for re-election. He was prepared to be a Labour MP for years but now he's retiring and no longer of any relevance he's throwing his toys about. Typical egomaniacal politician - every bit as vain as the rest of them.
Whilst not a terribly significant event in itself, I think it is good that Mr Sedgemore once again highlights just how little this government can be trusted with the democracy and freedoms which make this country what it is. The electorate would be well advised to listen to the concerns of those on the inside.
Malcolm, Yorkshire, UK
Well done, Mr Sedgemore - you have brought notice at last to things that should be being discussed during the election campaign - namely the erosion of liberty!
Mr Sedgemore has been my MP for many years. Not only does he always respond to his constituents' concerns, but he votes with his conscience. A rare thing - an MP with principles. Good luck to him - a great man. It is a shame he is not still standing.
Dan Normal, Hackney, London
What a publicity stunt! If Mr Sedgemore has felt so strongly about the war why wait till now? Wouldn't a resignation at the time of the war have been more potent? But perhaps this would have left him too vulnerable and without a job. I presume his decision to retire at this point has always been there and by making this statement now he has ensured he retires with his name in the headlines!
Sue Smith, Redhill
Hang on, he's defected but he's also standing down at the election? If I understand that correctly he has defected for 8 days. Hardly significant - just somebody who wants to make a point but never had the bravery to do it when he had something to lose.
Well done Mr Sedgemore. If he feels that he can no longer remain in a party which he feels represents a different strand of political opinion to his own and has found another party that does represent his thinking then defection was clearly the right thing to do. As for it being in the middle of an election campaign, well it is no more cynical and stage-managed than most of what the party leaderships do anyway is it?
Andrew, Torquay, UK
I think Tony Blair has a nerve saying that no-one will be interested in Sedgemore's defection. For a start the people who have voted for him all these years will care. 27 years of working for the Labour government and that's all Blair can say? Yet more evidence that Tony's got far too big for his boots and even if it does let the Tories in, it's yet another reason I can't bring myself to vote for Labour this time round.
It's a shame that Mr Sedgemore did not show the same strength of feelings before he decided to retire from Westminster as a Labour MP. It must be something about being a left-wing politician that causes a delayed consciousness in regards to making a stand on personal beliefs.
Kevin O'Neil, Glenrothes, Fife
I think what Brian Sedgemore has done is a total betrayal of the Labour colleagues and voters who have supported him over the years. I am not going to judge a Government over a single issue and those who do are totally misguided and need to remember the long hard years of the last Conservative governments. There are more important issues like the economy which people need to focus on.
Suzanne Richards, Manchester, UK
If Jeremy Corbyn, Diane Abbot, Dennis Skinner et al were to follow Mr Sedgemore, would Tony Blair consider it mission accomplished?
J. Naylor, Shefford, UK
I find Sedgemore's timing interesting and not a little "stomach turning". No resignation when the Iraq war took place, his timing is purely to give a "has been and never would be" a brief moment of notoriety. He was always critical of Labour leaders and the Liberal Democrats are welcome to him.
Lee Harris, Birmingham, UK
If that's what his conscience has led him to do then fair enough, but I can't see it making any difference to be honest. It will be forgotten about within a few days. So far then, a Conservative and Labour MP have defected to the Liberals and a Liberal to Labour. Who's next?
It was people like this turncoat who kept Labour in the political wilderness and the Thatcherites in power for 18 years with their extreme left wing policies that were rejected again and again by the electorate. He seems determined to do it again by attacking the man who made Labour electable. It's the bitterness of an old man who has never achieved anything other than to damage the party he claims to care about so much.
Anthony Gregory, St Neots
I think that the decision about who we vote for in the general election is too serious to be significantly influenced by the views of one individual.
Anyone who feels they can no longer be part of a party has a moral duty to the electorate to say why. Mr Sedgemore has the courage of his convictions and clearly feels that he has to be honest. We should welcome honesty in politicians.
Neil Fitzgerald, Southampton, Hampshire
As a former Labour supporter and a resident of Mr Sedgemore's constituency, my one regret is that I will not be able to give him my vote as our local Lib Dem candidate. I applaud a real Labour MP for standing up for his convictions.
Will, Hackney, London
Yes, but many other Labour Party 'supporters' will just cross their fingers and hold their noses and vote Blair in on May 5th
Sedgemore's behaviour is so typical of the left of the Labour party. He takes the money for years as a backbencher and yet, if left to the likes of him Labour would NEVER come to power.
Steve Coman, London, England
Brian Sedgemore is a socialist. Last time I looked the Lib Dems weren't claiming to be a socialist party. What stomach turning hypocrisy to not only join the Lib Dems but also not to have resigned his Labour Party membership a lot earlier. In effect, he has been drawing his MP's salary under false pretences.
Steve, Bristol, UK
If the Tories walk through the backdoor because of Tony Blair being so unpopular it's just tough luck for Labour. They have made masses of time to change their leader but they have refused to listen to public opinion. Blair's unpopularity is not just the war but because he changed Labour into a party that at times is even more right wing than the conservatives so I
Raymond Rudaizky, London, UK
I find it a bit rich that after nearly 30 years as a Labour MP, Brian Sedgemore has decided to defect to the Lib-Dems on the eve of the elections. I doubt if it'll do the Labour campaign any harm, as the Lib-Dems haven't got any policies at all. The whole thing sounds like sour grapes on Mr Sedgemore's part.
Tanweer Khan, Ilford, UK
At last a Labour MP with real backbone, someone who will stand up for what he really believes in! Well done Brian.
Peter Smith, London, UK
I heard Sedgemore this morning talking about the urge for freedom and the rule of law. Shame on him then that he isn't supporting the efforts to bring these to Iraq in place of the bloody tyranny of Saddam. To talk of giving Blair a bloody nose is childish irresponsibility.
I'm all for MPs acting on their convictions, but his timing is just too late. He has waited to act, so he can get his name in the press... This reeks of PR, not principle.
Katie, London, UK
Well done that man. I'm sure there must be many more in the Labour Party who feel the same but are too scared to say anything.
Whilst any move which lessens the chance of another Labour government is welcome, it's a shame Mr Sedgemore didn't have the courage of his convictions and resign from the Labour Party at the time of the war.
If Mr Sedgemore has searched his conscience and decided that defection is the only way to stay true to his values then I applaud him. The voice of the elected individuals must be heard over the grindings of the party machines.
Chris, Mansfield, UK
People like Sedgemore are the most potent electoral weapon the Tories have. Time and time again the left have been rejected, yet they still seem determined to bring in a Conservative government! New Labour has brought in things such as the minimum wage and winter fuel allowances for pensioners whilst maintaining a stable economy - not a mean achievement. What chance has a 'never has-been' like Sedgemore got of giving an election winning machine called Tony Blair a bloody nose?
Darren, Dudley, UK