Blair's Cabinet in Open Revolt

Wed Aug. 2, 2006 7:48 PM EDT

The Guardian reported over the weekend that Blair's cabinet is in "open revolt" over his support for Israel's invasion of Lebanon, revealing for the first time that "at a cabinet meeting before Blair left for last Friday's Washington summit with President George Bush, minister after minister pressed him to break with the Americans and publicly criticise Israel over the scale of death and destruction."

Blair's apparent attempt in a speech yesterday to "change the language as well as the nature" of the war without mitigating his support for Israel's actions, however, does not appear to have done the trick. In a follow-up piece today, The Guardian said that by the time Blair returned to England, three days after the Qana massacre, there was even more anger at his policy: "A former Labour minister, Joan Ruddoch, claimed the party was 'in despair' at the position the prime minister had taken and Ann Clywd, the chair of the parliamentary party, said that the 'vast majority' of his Labour backbenchers wanted a ceasefire." Such strident protests from within Blair's own party are surprising, even given the results of last week's poll showing that over 63 percent of Britons think Blair has tied his country too closely with the U.S. and ought to distance itself (only 54 percent of Labour Party voters agreed).