KENNETH CLARKE promised Tory MPs yesterday that he would act to strengthen the power of Parliament and backbench MPs if he wins the Tory leadership race.
The former Chancellor launched a strong attack on Tony Blair, accusing him of undermining Parliament and his own Cabinet ministers by running the country through a "coterie of advisers" in Downing Street. He promised to sweep away the "presidential" system set up by Mr Blair if he became Prime Minister.
He would also sack "party political" spin doctors such as Alastair Campbell, the Downing Street director of communications, replacing them with civil service press officers.
At a Westminster press conference, Mr Clarke outlined a wide- ranging package of measures to restore the power of MPs to hold government to account, including a strengthening of the select committee system. Under the cover of modernising Parliament since 1997, he said, Labour had been "neutering Parliament" to make it "less of a nuisance".
He argued that Mr Blair's undermining of Parliament had been partly responsible for the 59 per cent turn-out …