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  1. #1
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    Blair announces his resignation

    Blair announces his resignation


    British Prime Minister Tony Blair announced today that he will resign as leader of the Labour Party on June 27, after more than a decade in power.

    "Today I announce my decision to stand down from the leadership of the Labour Party," Blair told a crowd of supporters at his constituency of Sedgefield.

    "I've been prime minister of this country for just over 10 years, in this job in the world of today I think that's long enough for me but more especially for the country."

    The leader, who has won three successive majority governments, has seen his popularity plummet because of the war in Iraq.

    "I ask you to accept one thing: Hand on heart -- I did what I thought was right," said Blair. "I may have been wrong, that's your call, but believe one thing if nothing else: I did what I thought was right for our country."

    Blair said decision making is a difficult task as leader.

    "Everyone always says in politics: 'Listen to the people,' and the problem is they don't always agree," Blair said, eliciting laughter.

    "In government you have to give the answer -- not an answer, the answer."

    During his tenure, Blair skillfully combined the Labour party's left-wing social policies with slightly right-wing economic principles.

    "There is only one government since 1945 that can say all of the following: more jobs, fewer unemployed, better health and education results, lower crime and economic growth in every quarter," said Blair. "Only one government -- this one."

    Earlier in the day, Blair met with cabinet ministers to discuss his resignation.

    Blair's successor

    Blair's announcement ends months of speculation and opens the way for his likely successor Chancellor Gordon Brown.

    Blair, who marked 10 years in power on May 1, had wished to remain as his party's leader until the next election, expected sometime before May 2010.

    But Brown, whose political position is reminiscent of Paul Martin as he tried to wrestle control of the Liberal party from Jean Chretien, pushed for Blair to step down mid-term.

    Brown has the support of more than half of his fellow Labour MPs, while only two backbenchers have said they will also make a bid for the leadership.

    Blair first said he would serve only one more term on Sept. 30, 2004, during a television interview. In the ensuing three years, he was repeatedly asked to set an exact date for his departure, but refused to answer.

    A recent poll published by the Guardian newspaper suggested 64 per cent of all voters believe he was too concerned with foreign policy, and even 59 per cent of Labour supporters.

    But the same poll also indicated he still has a respectable level of support -- at least compared to his party.

    Overall, 44 per cent said he was good for Britain, which is a higher level of approval than the Labour party currently enjoys. In the recent local and devolved elections, Labour received about 27 per cent of the vote.

    With files from The Associated Press

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    franKg - "Since God was ok with Moses, Joshua and David burning cities to the ground and killing all the civilians I think he would be ok with us splashing a little water on some terrorists."

    Dr poormouth - "Exackly;
    It's not "waterboarding", it's "extraordinary baptism""

    Quote Originally Posted by carlbenator
    As discussed in a previous thread, this IRRATIONAL HATRED for the Jews and their RIGHT to SURVIVE is one of the many PROOFS of a God, AND a Devil.

  2. #2
    sojustask's Avatar
    sojustask is offline The Late, Great Lady Mod - Retired User Rank
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    Re: Blair announces his resignation

    Quote Originally Posted by Americanadian
    The leader, who has won three successive majority governments, has seen his popularity plummet because of the war in Iraq.

    "I ask you to accept one thing: Hand on heart -- I did what I thought was right," said Blair. "I may have been wrong, that's your call, but believe one thing if nothing else: I did what I thought was right for our country."

    ---------------------------
    I wonder if Bush will be so gracious?

    I doubt it.

    Lady Mod

  3. #3
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    Re: Blair announces his resignation

    TRIMDON, England - Prime Minister Tony Blair said Thursday that he will step down as prime minister on June 27, after a decade in office in which he brokered peace in Northern Ireland and followed the United States to war in Afghanistan and Iraq.

    “I’ve been prime minister of this country for just over 10 years,” Blair told party members in Trimdon in his northern England constituency.

    “I think that’s long enough, not only for me, but also for the country and sometimes the only way you conquer the pull of power is to set it down.”

    Blair, President Bush’s closest ally over Iraq, leaves office out of favor among voters for sending British forces to join the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.

    A Labour Party rebellion in September forced him to say he would quit within a year to allow Treasury chief Gordon Brown, his long-time heir apparent, to take over.

    Short speech

    Surveying his time in power, Blair, 54, told supporters: “Hand on heart, I did what I thought was right.”

    Following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the U.S., it was right, Blair said, to “stand shoulder to shoulder with our oldest ally, and I did so out of belief.”

    “And so Afghanistan, and then Iraq—the latter bitterly controversial.

    “And removing Saddam and his sons from power, as with removing the Taliban, was over with relative ease. But the blowback since, with global terrorism and those elements that support it, has been fierce and unrelenting and costly.

    “And for many it simply isn’t and can’t be worth it. For me, I think we must see it through.”

    In a short, almost apologetic speech, Blair added: “I may have been wrong. That’s your call.”

    ‘The beginning of the end’

    Brown, Blair’s partner in reforming the Labour Party and a sometimes impatient rival in government, was expected to easily win election a the party’s new leader and become the next prime minister.

    Blair’s announcement is one that his Labour Party, and the nation, have been expecting for nearly three years, ever since the prime minister said in 2004 that his third term would be his last.

    “Today, the beginning of the end,” read the front page of The Guardian newspaper.

    Blair met earlier with Cabinet members, who left No. 10 Downing Street without answering questions shouted by reporters swarming outside.

    Brown has already declared he will be a candidate; at least one opponent from the party’s left wing was expected to announce his candidacy Thursday afternoon.

    ‘A great prime minister’

    John Burton, Blair’s political representative in the northern parliamentary district of Sedgefield, said earlier that Blair would continue to represent Sedgefield in Parliament until the next national election, expected in 2009, unless he is offered “a major international or United Nations job.”

    The Iraq war, a police investigation of allegations that the government traded honors for political contributions and endless questions about when Blair would step down overshadowed his last term in government, after winning the third term in May 2005.

    Blair has stopped short of openly endorsing Brown, a stern Scot who has long coveted the top job, but said last week that Brown would make “a great prime minister.”

    “One of the things I very much hope will be part of the legacy of the government is the strongest economy in the Western world which he has been responsible for,” Blair said.

    Blair led Labour to two landslide election wins in 1997 and 2001, and a narrower but still comfortable victory in 2005.

    Affected by Iraq

    The first term was marked by several significant initiatives: the Bank of England was given the freedom to set interest rates, Scotland and Wales were given regional governments, London gained an elected mayor and all but 92 hereditary members were ejected from the House of Lords.

    In 1998, Blair and Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern led successful negotiations for a peace agreement in Northern Ireland, launching a process which reached its culmination earlier this week as former enemies from the Protestant and Catholic communities joined to form a new regional government.

    The Iraq war severely dented Blair’s popularity. Blair’s close alliance with President Bush was unpopular at home, there were mass marches in Britain opposing the U.S.-led invasion before it began, and the government’s claims that Saddam Hussein was building an arsenal of weapons of mass destruction proved false.

    For more than a year, Labour has consistently trailed in opinion polls behind a Conservative Party revived by its new leader, David Cameron.

    ‘I wanted to please everyone’

    In local and regional elections earlier this month, Labour lost hundreds of seats in city and county councils, and was beaten into second place in the Scottish Parliament elections by the Scottish National Party, which advocates independence.

    In recent months, Blair’s thoughts have turned to the lessons of his decade in power.

    “When I first started in politics, I wanted to please everyone,” Blair said during a tour of the Middle East in December. “After a time I learned that you can’t please everyone, and you learn that the best thing is to do what you think is right and everyone can make their judgment.”

    Blair is the first British prime minister since Harold Wilson in 1976 to leave at a time of his own choosing, rather than by losing an election or being forced out by the party.

    Blair’s leaving had little of the drama of downfall of Margaret Thatcher, who announced her resignation in 1990 just nine days after she was the target of a savage resignation speech by her former Cabinet colleague, Geoffrey Howe.

    © 2007 MSNBC Interactive
    franKg - "Since God was ok with Moses, Joshua and David burning cities to the ground and killing all the civilians I think he would be ok with us splashing a little water on some terrorists."

    Dr poormouth - "Exackly;
    It's not "waterboarding", it's "extraordinary baptism""

    Quote Originally Posted by carlbenator
    As discussed in a previous thread, this IRRATIONAL HATRED for the Jews and their RIGHT to SURVIVE is one of the many PROOFS of a God, AND a Devil.

  4. #4
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    Re: Blair announces his resignation

    Quote Originally Posted by sojustask
    I wonder if Bush will be so gracious?

    I doubt it.

    Lady Mod
    Nope. Resignation would be permitting them to take the easy way out. That would be a crime in itself to allow them to walk away without due acknowledgment of the crimes they perpetrated whilst in office.
    franKg - "Since God was ok with Moses, Joshua and David burning cities to the ground and killing all the civilians I think he would be ok with us splashing a little water on some terrorists."

    Dr poormouth - "Exackly;
    It's not "waterboarding", it's "extraordinary baptism""

    Quote Originally Posted by carlbenator
    As discussed in a previous thread, this IRRATIONAL HATRED for the Jews and their RIGHT to SURVIVE is one of the many PROOFS of a God, AND a Devil.

  5. #5
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    Re: Blair announces his resignation

    I would have tried Bliar and Bush for war crimes.

    Blood on their hands, both of them.

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