Independent – 29 June 2001
As Opposition MPs in the last parliament, we were well placed to watch the performance of all the New Labour ministers. Undoubtedly, one of the ablest was junior Home Office minister, Mike O'Brien. Each of us formed the view that he was competent, courteous and unfailingly honest.
This last quality now appears to have been his undoing - for it was he who bravely stood his ground about Peter Mandelson's now notorious telephone call to the Home Office on behalf of the Hinduja brothers.
His post-election sacking by Tony Blair shows what a man of integrity can expect if he crosses the political mafia at the heart of New Labour.
JOHN BERCOW MP
Opposition Home Affairs Spokesman
EDWARD LEIGH MP
JULIAN LEWIS MP
(New Forest East, C)
ANDREW ROBATHAN MP
House of Commons
[NOTE: The same letter was published in the Guardian, New Statesman & Tribune. For subsequent developments, click here.]