London, Apr.15 (ANI): Four former Labour ministers have blamed British Prime Minister Gordon Brown for allowing former aide Damian McBride to draw up plans to smear senior Conservatives.
According to The Independent, the ministers suggested that McBride was carrying out Brown's wishes rather than acting as a freelance operator.
They joined Conservative leader David Cameron in demanding an urgent shake-up of the Downing Street machine.
Brown also faced the prospect of an embarrassing inquiry into the role of special advisers like McBride.
Labour MPs want the Public Administration Select Committee, which has looked into their work after previous controversies, to launch another investigation.
Frank Field, a former welfare reform minister, said: "A necessary government information machine has been corrupted by a spin that seeks not to inform but control and, if needs be, destroy. And it has been in existence for over a decade."
Two Blairite former ministers, Stephen Byers and Alan Milburn, also attacked Brown.
Byers, a former transport secretary, said: "To dismiss the incident as juvenile, which was the first reaction of Downing Street, totally missed the point and failed to recognise the extent of the hurt and offence caused. If there are people close to the Prime Minister who are thinking of fighting the forthcoming general election in a personal and dirty way, they should go, and go now."
Former health secretary Milburn described the proposed website as "morally unacceptable" and said the row had inflicted huge damage on the Labour Party and on the Government.
Charles Clarke, the former home secretary, said politics had been "debased" by the affair and that two Labour figures who discussed the proposed website with McBride - Derek Draper and Charlie Whelan - should sever their links with the party's leadership. (ANI)