Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Second Minister Walks out in Shock for Blair

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Second Minister Walks out in Shock for Blair

Article excerpt

Byline: PATRICK HENNESSY

TONY BLAIR was today hit by his second government resignation as health minister Lord Hunt unexpectedly quit on the eve of war with Iraq.

Lord Hunt followed Robin Cook in resigning in protest at the failure to win a fresh UN mandate for action against Saddam Hussein. His move caught Downing Street on the hop.

The 53-year-old peer used a radio interview early today to announce his move piling the pressure on Mr Blair as he prepared for his sternest test since becoming Prime Minister.

He nailed his colours to the mast by choosing to open a landmark Commons debate in which he risks a humiliating rebuff from his own party.

With thousands of British troops poised for action, Mr Blair was forced to deal with a government crisis which saw an electrifying resignation speech by former Commons leader Mr Cook - followed hours later by Lord Hunt's abrupt departure. He was one of the first of the waves of New Labour peers created by Tony Blair in 1997. …

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