[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
Launch consoleBBC News in video and audio
Last Updated: Wednesday, 2 August 2006, 13:21 GMT 14:21 UK
MP attacks Blair over Middle East
Dai Havard
Dai Havard MP has written to the Prime Minister
A Welsh Labour MP has launched a scathing attack on the prime minister over the crisis in the Middle East.

The MP for Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney, Dai Havard, has written to Tony Blair urging him to call for an immediate ceasefire.

He accused Mr Blair of a "misdirected obsession" with publicly agreeing with American foreign policy.

The UK Government said that calling for an immediate ceasefire without proper planning would be a pointless gesture.

In his letter, Mr Havard, a member of the Commons Defence Committee, accused the prime minister and the US of "sanctioning the wrong strategy" in the region.

He claimed Mr Blair was not speaking for the majority of his constituents, or the Labour party, on the issue of the Middle East.

Bill Clinton and Tony Blair in California on Tuesday
Mr Blair returned from a visit to the US on Tuesday night

Mr Havard wrote: "We need you to change the 'realpolitik' not by retaining the delusion that you 'have the ear of Bush', but by stating what is morally, politically and strategically right.

"These issues are the most urgent task that will doubtless influence your departure as prime minister and Labour Party leader."

'Immediate ceasefire'

Other Labour MPs including some ministers share some of Mr Havard's concerns, although none have expressed them so strongly.

Ann Clwyd, chairman of the Parliamentary Labour Party, told the BBC that the "vast majority" of backbench Labour MPs wanted a ceasefire between Israel and Lebanon and were critical of Israeli policy.

But she defended Mr Blair.

"I know the amount of time he has spent phoning individuals up, attempting to get some movement on what is a very difficult issue," she said.

"He wants conflict to end. His argument is there's no point in having a pretend ceasefire."

Mr Blair, who returned from the United States on Tuesday night has called for an end to the conflict as soon as possible.

The UK Government argues that calling for an immediate ceasefire without a plan to bring it about would be a pointless gesture.




SEE ALSO
Blair returns to face UK critics
02 Aug 06 |  UK Politics



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific