France's "no" vote in Sunday's referendum has killed off the EU constitution, according to the former European commissioner Lord Kinnock. Yesterday's comments from the former Labour Party leader revealed the mood within the Government, as a spokesman for Tony Blair's office repeated the Prime Minister's call for a "period of reflection" on the referendum result.Lord Kinnock said: "I understand why they emphasise the need for a period of reflection. But it does not alter any of the political realities that prompted him to offer to go before the next election," he added.. "If he succeeds during our European presidency he will have prepared the best possible curtain call for himself to take a graceful exit," Mr Cook said in an article in London's Evening Standard."The disappearance through a trapdoor of the British referendum has removed one obvious date in the political calendar when it might have been convenient for the Prime Minister to make his departing bow. Robin Cook, the former foreign secretary, has hinted that Tony Blair should consider quitting as Prime Minister early next year. Her book about the Windrush generation of West Indian immigrants to Britain drew on her experiences in London..
Upon winning last year's prize, Ms Levy credited The Sound of Music with stopping her from becoming a juvenile delinquent. The book about the spoilt mistress of a slave plantation was based on texts written by former slaves and their owners.2004 - ANDREA LEVY Small IslandThe world might have been deprived of Andrea Levy's literary talents were it not for Julie Andrews. Her novel about hostages and hostage-takers during the 1996 occupation of the Japanese embassy in Peru became an international bestseller.2003 - VALERIE MARTIN PropertyThe New Orleans-born writer was the second surprise winner in as many years when she leap-frogged the hot favourites Donna Tartt and Zadie Smith with her novel about slavery in 19th-century Louisiana. She said: "It was very easy to think: 'My work is not as good as Henry James'." Two of her books have been made into feature films.2002 - ANN PATCHETT Bel CantoThe daughter of a Los Angeles police officer, Ann Patchett took writing classes at university and her first story was published before she graduated But her Orange triumph was as an unfancied outsider. The author said she had been put off writing because of her degree in English literature. Her prize-winning novel about life in Tel Aviv in the last years of British rule found its way into the headlines, with accusations of using material from an academic text. She lives in Boston and teaches at Harvard.2000 - LINDA GRANT When I Lived in Modern TimesThe daughter of Russian and Polish immigrants to Liverpool, Linda Grant concentrated on journalism prior to writing fiction.
Fortunately she persisted and her first novel was lauded for its portrayal of life in a suburb of Washington DC in 1973 told through the eyes of a 10-year-old girl. By the time she won the Orange, all that had changed - she was viewed as a leading literary feminist after complaining "women in fiction were bimbos or bitches".1999 - SUZANNE BERNE A Crime in the NeighbourhoodAs an aspiring author, Suzanne Berne's first job could have been enough to put her off creative writing for life - writing up classified ads. She has now written 13 books and has judged the TS Eliot and Whitbread awards.1997- ANNE MICHAELS Fugitive PiecesIt took a decade for Anne Michaels, a musician and writer based in Canada, to complete her story of the Holocaust. A year after publication it had shifted just 1,000 copies and garnered no reviews, but the Orange, one of four literary awards the book eventually received, has helped push its sales since past 15 million.1998 - CAROL SHIELDS Larry's PartyThe Chicago-born Carol Shields did not publish her first book until the week of her 40th birthday, insisting that hitherto her aims had been "a baby, a fridge freezer and a car". She spent two years teaching in Finland before her first novel was published. While visiting him in prison, his mother writes to her estranged husband about his upbringing.Previous winners1996 - HELEN DUNMORE: A Spell of WinterPreviously better known as a poet, Helen Dunmore won the first Orange with her tale of the relationship between a brother and sister through the First World War.