Blair Switch Project
As part of a broad cabinet reshuffle that has British politicians and citizens alike shaking their heads, U.K. Environment Minister Michael Meacher was asked yesterday by Prime Minister Tony Blair to step down. Meacher, who has held his post since 1997, was increasingly at odds with Blair over the issue of genetically modified crops; Meacher opposes them while Blair is pushing for their acceptance. First elected to office in 1970, Meacher is one of the Labor Party’s longest-serving members of parliament. He has long enjoyed a reputation as one of the more radical members of government, although he has gradually become more centrist over the years. Last year, he attracted a brief firestorm of controversy for attacking his government’s record on the environment.