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Blair in Women's Weekly online storm

Govt.Web site used for party-political ends. Again

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The Number 10 Downing Street Web site has once again caused a storm by bowing to party politics. The site was designed as a place for the Government to post announcements and for the public to put questions to the country's leaders online. Since its inception in February, the site has been at the centre of controversy – from racist and personal attacks appearing on the public forums to the Government's apparent lack of replies to public questions. Labour was also accused of censoring the site and using it as a political tool for the London Mayor elections. Pro-Ken comments were moved or taken off the online discussions, some contributors alleged. This week the site hit the headlines again due to a pro-Blair interview from that most uncontroversial of publications, Women's Weekly. The site published the article by Weekly's assistant editor Sue Pilkington, where she asked the mighty Blair if he's like a second term in office. "That would be nice," Tony replied. What has angered opponents to the site is that the Number 10 site is meant to be a Government venture, not part of the Labour spin machine. It is funded by taxpayers and should therefore not contain party political matter. Thatcherite Sir Bernard Ingham told yesterday's Evening Standard: "The whole Web site is a clear example of abuse of power…The Labour Party is once again pushing at the boundaries between what is party and what is government". Downing Street's view is: "Obviously there are going to be party issues on the site...A site about number 10 will inevitably be linked to the Labour Party."® Related stories Govt censors pro-Livingstone Net post William Plague defaces No. 10 Website site

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