TONY BLAIR has modelled his premiership on that of Margaret Thatcher and reduced cabinet meetings to a rubber-stamping operation, says Geoffrey Robinson, the former paymaster general.
In his first interview since his spectacular fall from office with Peter Mandelson, Mr Robinson also claims the Prime Minister is just as interested in "spinning" policies as the policies themselves.
The millionaire MP's comments will be made in Blair's Way, a Channel 4 documentary to be screened tomorrow night, which assesses the impact of Mr Blair's leadership style. It will be preceded tonight by another Channel 4 programme in which a former adviser of the late Labour leader John Smith claims Mr Blair's predecessor would have encouraged a more "consultative approach" to government. In If John Smith Had Lived a Labour MP admits that he does not believe he would have won his parliamentary seat if Mr Blair had not become leader. It also includes claims that Mr Blair would "bang his head against his desk in frustration" at the slow pace of internal party reform under Mr Smith's leadership. Mr Robinson - whose pounds 373,000 home loan led to Mr Mandelson's resignation from the Cabinet, and one of the blackest periods of the Government to date - will say that Mr Blair's style is similar to that of Margaret Thatcher. "It seems to me Tony's taken the Thatcher model a bit further really and the role of Cabinet is very restricted indeed ... some of the cabinet meetings only last 20 minutes for example. …