Former minister Clare Short sparks debate at Hackney sixth form

FORMER Labour minister Clare Short came to Hackney’s sixth form college on Wednesday, to tell politics students how former prime minister Tony Blair bypassed the democratic process.

Clare Short - who was a minister under Tony Blair but resigned over the 2003 Iraq war - opened the new term for BSix’s Politics Club, with a talk about “cabinet government.”

She described her first Cabinet meeting where most ministers felt the Millennium Dome would be a waste of public money, but that before the meeting had even ended, Blair left to address a press conference announcing the government had decided to go ahead with the Dome.

She also recounted how the same was true of the 2003 Iraq war - which she characterised as “the biggest disgrace of the government.”

She told students she was re-considering her decision to quit the Labour party following Ed Miliband’s election as leader, and welcomed his admission the Iraq war was unnecessary.

Ms Short considered Blair had “charm and the capacity to communicate,” but he did not read government papers thoroughly and had little sense of history.

Forthcoming speakers at the college in Kenninghall Road include journalist Polly Toynbee, former Mayor of London Ken Livingstone, Tony Blair’s spin doctor Alastair Campbell and former Home Secretary David Blunkett.