Can you tell the “oily” leadership candidate from his hated predecessor?
An explosive development in the race to be the Labour candidate for London Mayor. Regular readers will remember Khan going off on one about Blair last week:
“Khan did, however, recall his frustration with the reaction of Tony Blair to the 7/7 terror attacks, when the then-prime minister called in the newly elected MP and the three other Muslim Labour members of the House of Commons. “One of my criticisms of Tony Blair was when he called the four MPs of Islamic faith into No 10 and sat us round the table and said – to Mohammad Sarwar, Khalid Mahmood, Shahid Malik and myself – it was our responsibility,” Khan said. “I said: ‘No, it’s not. Why have you called us in? I don’t blame you for the Ku Klux Klan. Why are you blaming me for the four bombers on 7/7?’ Which is why, after he called us in, and there were lots of cameras outside waiting to speak to us, my three colleagues spoke to the cameras and I walked away.”
Unfortunately for Khan, the other Muslim MPs he mentioned say his version of events is total horsesh*t:
As the MPs identified by Sadiq Khan (Electing a Muslim mayor would send out message of tolerance, says Khan, 3 July) who met with the then prime minister, Tony Blair, following the shocking 7/7 London attacks, we are extremely troubled by Khan’s evidently self-serving revisionism. Having conferred with Mohammed Sarwar (who is now Pakistan-based), we feel compelled to reveal that Khan’s account is at complete odds with our collective recollection.
He now claims that Blair was somehow accusatory towards Muslims as a whole for 7/7, and that Khan was combative in chastising the prime minister for presuming to call him to Downing Street to somehow take responsibility. Our Downing Street discussions in fact ended with a unanimous agreement on the need for unity in the fight against terror and the crucial role for Muslims.
To misrepresent the words of a British prime minister and to mischaracterise a significant meeting in the wake of the tragic loss of 52 lives a week earlier is frankly beyond the pale, and we write today not to defend Blair but to defend the truth.
Khan’s depiction of his bravado is almost comical, and if the events of 7/7 were not so grave, it would be unworthy of response. But this was a profoundly grave episode in our history, which necessitates challenging those who would seek to exploit it for personal gain.
While we agree with Khan that it would be great to see a Muslim mayor for London – as indeed it would to see a black mayor or woman mayor – above all it would be good to see a mayor who could truly command the trust of Londoners irrespective of their colour, creed, race, or gender.
Khalid Mahmood MP Labour, Birmingham Perry Barr
Shahid Malik Labour MP for Dewsbury and Mirfield, 2005-10
A source on Sadiq’s campaign tells Guido this morning that they are “not sweating it” as “ten years on people are going to take different things away from conversations.” Which is all very well, except for the fact that everyone else’s recollection is different from Khan’s…
Spotted outside 83 Victoria Street, the building that houses the headquarters of Andy Burnham and Liz Kendall, this afternoon:
And down the road at Labour HQ:
Long live Mr Tony, peace be upon him.
Bring Back Blair….
Where does Guido sign?
“We are now seeing the end of Taliban New Labour. All of those Blairites who hoped they might get their candidate elected have failed. The whole strategy for Liz was a Westminster strategy – she played up to the media, to the right-wing commentators, to the Blairite Taliban MPs, made a few headlines by saying she was relaxed about free schools and committing to defence spending, and just took a chance that the momentum would carry her forward. But the trouble with that is that the fizzle and sparkle has gone already. Now the contest has moved on to the membership, who will not be interested in that kind of rhetoric or those policies, you will see her star wane very quickly.”
Miaow! And here come the mujahideen:
Surely Labour should know better than most what happens when you try to fight the Taliban. The Taliban win.
Tony Blair scheduled a two hour afternoon slot into his diary to enjoy the company of alluring Chinese actress Li Bingbing during a 2012 business trip to China. According to documents seen by the Telegraph, Blair touched down in Beijing and raced straight to see Ms Bingbing before the grind of meeting CEO’s and politicians began.
Blair first met Bingbing – who is a friend of Wendi Deng – at a climate change campaign in 2009 and has been spotted regularly with the Chinese siren since. Bada Bingbing, bada boom…
Bored civil servants have been handed a helpful memo on how to fill up their time until a new government has been selected by those pesky voters:
The bit that really caught Guido’s eye was the pen pushers’ idea of “a range” of recommended reading on governmental matters:
· Michael Barber, ‘How to run a Government’
· Tony Blair, ‘A journey’
· Alastair Campbell, ‘The Blair years: extracts from the Alastair Campbell diaries’
· Anthony King and Ivor Crewe, ‘The blunders of our governments’
· Damian McBride, ‘Power Trip: a decade of policy, plots and spin’
· Chris Mullin, ‘A view from the foothills: the Chris Mullin diaries’
Hardly an impartial list…
“Remember the relief we felt when Scotland voted no. Why was that? Because towards the end, having paid only intermittent attention to the enormity of the decision, we awoke to it and realised – I think with shock – how close we had come to relegating ourselves from the Premier League of nations. Now think if the vote had gone the other way. It doesn’t bear thinking of. It would be exactly the same with a vote on Europe. We’re frankly not much focused on it now. But that is the same semi-conscious torpor that almost led us to disaster in keeping the UK together.”
Basically he is saying the people don’t think about these things hard enough, so we can’t risk them getting it wrong by giving them the chance.
Because Tony Blair never got anything wrong in the face of popular opinion now, did he…
There was plenty of chatter in the broadsheets this weekend about what, if any, role Tony Blair would play in the coming Labour election campaign. However – as readers of the Sun on Sunday would know – Mr Tony was already back and doing his part to raise cash for candidates last week. As Guido revealed yesterday, Tony and Cherie made a rare public appearance together on Thursday at the Grand Imperial Hotel for a glitzy fundraiser for gay Labour candidates.
Last seen awkwardly posing for a very uncomfortable Christmas card, friends were surprised to see the pair work the room just like the old days, despite a turbulent year. “He was very wistful,” says Guido’s mole, “he’s really starting to show his age”. There were handbags later after Chris Bryant “made a bitchy comment about Tony and loyalty to Ed Miliband”. Guido hears Chris was swiftly – and loudly – reminded of his public letter-writing campaign that helped bring Blair down. Sic semper…
Labour have declined the opportunity to comment on Guido’s revelation that Tony Blair will be back campaigning for Labour before the election. As reported in yesterday’s Sun, Mr Tony is fronting a fundraising drive for gay Labour candidates next month – a rare return to frontline British politics. The party declined to comment when asked if Ed welcomed the move. Blair, who? Never heard of him…