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'Blair needs to distance himself from Bush'

Prime Minister Blair must start to distance himself from President Bush if he wants Britain to have a real voice in Europe, Robin Cook said on Wednesday.

world Updated: Apr 16, 2003 13:40 IST

Prime Minister Tony Blair must start to distance himself from US President George W Bush if he wants Britain to have a real voice in Europe, former cabinet minister Robin Cook said on Wednesday.

Writing in the New Statesman, a political weekly, Cook -- who quit the government over its decision to join the US-led war in Iraq -- said Blair made a "strategic error" by thinking he could "roll forward" to Bush the close relationship he enjoyed with former president Bill Clinton.

"If the prime minister wants to restore Britain's status as a major European player, he must now accept that moving closer to Europe requires, by definition, putting more distance between Britain and Bush," he said.

Cook was Blair's foreign minister during the Kosovo conflict in 1999, and architect of the government's "ethical foreign policy." As leader of the House of Commons he shepherded legislation through parliament.

First Published: Apr 16, 2003 13:40 IST