Everybody’s talking about the frank words on p262

FRANK Dobson – a Health Secretary under Tony Blair – gets a withering assessment in that book. Payback for all those punches sustained from the backbenches, there is a miserable description from Blair about how he tried to “change horses” and get Mo Mowlam to replace Dobson in the first London mayoral race, the one won by Ken Livingstone as an independent.

In fact, Blair is pretty meally-mouthed throughout his coverage of Holborn and St Pancras MP Dobson in A Journey. The tenor of it can be summed up by this unsubtle opening gambit:

At the helm of the NHS, I had put Frank Dobson. This, in itself, indicated how little I understood when first in office…

If they are ever published, I’m sure Dobson will have some of his own carefully chosen words for TB in his recollections of the New Labour government. In the meantime, he’ll take comfort in a consensus among leftier Labour members that he was actually the best health secretary Blair ever had.

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