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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 September 2006, 17:11 GMT 18:11 UK
Three Welsh MPs quit in Blair row
(From top left) Wayne David, Ian Lucas, Mark Tami
(From top left) Wayne David, Ian Lucas and Mark Tami
Three Welsh MPs are among seven junior government members to resign over Tony Blair's refusal to name a date for his departure from Downing Street.

Mark Tami (Alyn and Deeside), Wayne David (Caerphilly) and Ian Lucas (Wrexham) were part of a group of seven members of the administration to quit.

All three left roles as parliamentary private secretaries.

In a letter, they said uncertainty over Mr Blair's departure was damaging the government.

The Labour Party really does need to renew itself and the only way we can do that effectively, in my view, is if we have a different leader in place
Wayne David MP
The trio had already signed a letter written by 17 previously loyal Blairite MPs calling on the prime minister to set a date for his departure.

Mr David said: "It's not a case of me turning against the prime minister.

"I mean, I think Tony Blair's done a fantastic job for this country, I still support him as prime minister now.

"But I really think that when we look towards the future, the Labour Party really does need to renew itself and the only way we can do that effectively, in my view, is if we have a different leader in place."

The most high-profile departure came from junior minister Tom Watson, who left a post as veterans' minister.

In their resignation letter to Mr Blair, the MPs said they had been "honoured to serve... under your leadership" adding that the "process of renewal and reinvigoration that your premiership has inspired is without precedent".

However they went on: "We believe however that you have not ended the uncertainty over when you intend to leave office, which is damaging the government and the party.

"We have vitally important Scottish Parliament, Welsh assembly and English local authority elections next year and we must resolve this matter well in advance of these."

Meanwhile, Cardiff West MP Kevin Brennan, a government whip, called for an apology after a newspaper reported that he had signed a letter - and then withdrawn his name - from a letter calling for Mr Blair to resign.

Mr Brennan said: "I have never signed any letter in the first place, so I could hardly have withdrawn my name from it".




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Blair faces wave of resignations
06 Sep 06 |  UK Politics

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