Blair resigns as Labour leader

TONY Blair has resigned as Labour leader. This morning, he flew to the North East to tell his constituents - but he will remain Prime Minister for the next seven weeks until the party has chosen a successor.

By Graham Dines

TONY Blair has resigned as Labour Leader. This morning, he flew to the North East to tell his constituents - but he will remain Prime Minister until the party has chosen a successor on June 27.

After telling Cabinet colleagues of his plans at a meeting in Downing Street, Mr Blair made his public declaration at noon in Trimdon Labour Club in his Sedgefield constituency, where he has been MP since 1983.

The announcement ended months of speculation about the timetable for his exit from power and paves the way for a leadership contest.


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Chancellor Gordon Brown, who today looked relaxed as he answered Treasury questions in the Commons, is expected to face only a token left wing challenge from either backbencher John McDonnell or ex-minister Michael Meacher - if one of them can muster enough nominations. The pair are holding a joint media conference at 4pm.

Mr Blair will remains as Labour leader until his successor is formally elected at a special party conference, and as Prime Minister until he hands in his seals of office to the Queen. Labour's ruling National Executive Committee will meet this weekend to agree the exact timetable for an election to replace both Mr Blair and his deputy John Prescott, who is expected to quit within the next couple of days.

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