I'm staying for at least a year: British PM Tony Blair
Sunday, August 6, 2006
The Sunday Telegraph reports that it has learned from senior sources that Blair feels "rejuvenated" after a trip to the United States and believes he can continue to play a major role as prime minister.
According to the report, Blair, 53, is planning to stare down his critics, including some members of his Cabinet, to push through reforms in health and education.
Gordon Brown, Chancellor of the Exchequer and the man long touted as Blair's successor, has been quietly urging a transfer of power to occur shortly after May 2007, the tenth anniversary of Blair's premiership.
If Blair tries to hang on to power much after next May he may face a full scale revolt by backbench Labour MPs who circulated a letter earlier this year calling for the prime minister to announce a timetable for his departure. Under the party constitution, 70 Labour MPs need to sign a letter calling for a leadership change in order to set a formal challenge into motion.
Blair has been the most successful leader in the Labour Party's history having won three successive elections. However, he led his party to a narrow victory in the 2005 election leading to widespread speculation that he would resign during this term in favour of Brown. His popularity has sagged due to his government's involvement in the Iraq war as well as the Cash for Peerages corruption scandal and several ministerial resignations.
- Patrick Hennessy and Melissa Kite. "I'm staying for another year at least, vows Blair" — , August 6, 2006
- "Blair 'planning another year as PM'" — , August 6, 2006
- Reuters. "Blair 'to defy critics, stay on'" — , August 6, 2006
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