Letters to The Times
Blair's right to act as Prime Minister when retiring
Introductory Note by Francis Bennion
The following letter was published in The Times of 8 June
2007 with the omission of the final telling paragraph (shown below in square brackets).
This omission is typical of today’s dumbed-down version of what used to be known
as The Thunderer. How different from the days when my first letter appeared in the paper
nearly sixty years ago, without any excisions. Press here if
you would like to see how detailed and serious it was allowed to be, even though written
by a mere student. And
in those days just after the war there was a severe paper shortage!
Later For a later letter on the same topic click
Later still For a response by FB to a letter criticising
the one set out below click here
The Times (Letters) 8 Jun 2007
||Doc. No. 2007.010 T111L
Lame-duck Blair (1)
Sir, You report that at the G8 summit in
Heiligendamm Mr Blair yesterday had a meeting with the US President. He is also discussing
with leading figures the future of the proposed
European Union Constitution and other vital matters.
There has been wide criticism of
the way Mr Blair has insisted on acting as a lame-duck Prime Minister for the past nine
months, and has been allowed to get away with it. Having
been a constitutional expert for more than half a century, I would argue that his behaviour
is in breach of the constitution.
Since Mr Blair announced his departure from office on
June 27, he has ceased to have any vestige of real power. In substance therefore (as
opposed to mere form) he is surely
no longer entitled to participate as our leader in negotiations with other countries
- especially on matters closely involving the highest interests of the United Kingdom.
I believe the courts would so rule if a legal challenge were instituted, since the conduct
of the nation’s affairs is severely handicapped by his behaviour.
[In ignorance, Mr Blair last year procured the removal of the vital constitutional powers
of the Lord Chancellor. Can anyone imagine that the late Lord Hailsham of St Marylebone,
when he held that office, would have sat idly by in Cabinet while a Prime Minister thus
played ducks and drakes with our constitution?]
Francis Bennion, Former Parliamentary
Counsel; Budleigh Salterton, Devon.