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Citing Domestic Successes, Blair to Step Down

Tony Blair announced his pending departure in his home base of Sedgefield, England.
Stefan Rousseau / Getty Images
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Tony Blair announced his pending departure in his home base of Sedgefield, England.

Britain's Prime Minister Tony Blair has announced that he will step down on June 27, putting a firm date on the long goodbye that will end a decade on Downing Street. In an emotional speech, Blair said that 10 years was long enough for him — and for the country.

Speaking before an adoring audience in his home region in northern England, Blair outlined some of his successes and admitted some of his faults with the usual mixture of humor and earnestness, frankness and optimism for which he has come to be loved — or loathed — in Britain.

Blair made no mention of his likely successor, Finance Minister Gordon Brown. Together, the two men made the Labor Party electable, and then presided over a decade of unprecedented economic boom.

Blair has become very unpopular with the British public, who blame him for their country's prolonged mission in Iraq. The Labor Party was defeated in several crucial regional elections earlier this month.

Even still, Blair recently supervised the restoration of local government to Northern Ireland, in a power-sharing agreement that may put an end to decades of violence there.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Rob Gifford
Rob Gifford is the NPR foreign correspondent based in Shanghai.

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