Blears says cabinet “too macho”

Labour MP Hazel Blears believes that the “macho” cabinet urgently needs reforming and that local government is already struggling to come to terms with the coalition Government’s new regime.

On a DLR train in east London yesterday, I stood next to the former Communities and Local Government secretary as she complained to a female colleague that cabinet meetings are “too macho”, revealing that an MP’s success was determined by how much money their department had and how loudly he or she argued.

Blears’ lament follows allegations shortly before the general election of bullying in Gordon Brown’s government.

Blears then whispered “poor Harriet”, in reference to acting Labour leader Harriet Harman, who will head the opposition party until a permanent leader is announced on 25 September. No reference was made during the conversation to Dianne Abbott, the only female candidate in the Labour leadership race.

Discussing local government agencies, Blears said she thinks that they are already struggling to cope with cuts introduced by the new coalition Government, and commented that it had taken the last government a long time to build up an established Department for Communities and Local Government.

Blears ran for the position of Labour party leader in 2007, but was beaten in the election by Harman. Blears famously announced her wish to resign as a cabinet member in June 2009 while wearing a brooch which said: “rocking the boat”.

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