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Tony Blair
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{{Redirect|Anthony Blair||Anthony Blair (disambiguation)|and|Tony Blair (disambiguation)}}{{Pp-move-indef}}{{short description|Former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom}}{{Pp-semi-blp|small=yes}}{{Use dmy dates|date=August 2019}}{{Use British English|date=August 2019}}







factoids
Labour Party Chair (2001)>Chairman John Smith (Labour Party leader)>John SmithGordon Brown{{Collapsed infobox section begin>Shadow Cabinet positions}}|office3 = Shadow Home Secretary Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions>Shadow Secretary of State for Employment|leader4 = Neil Kinnock|1blankname4 = Shadowing Shadow Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change>Shadow Secretary of State for Energy|leader5 = Neil Kinnock|1blankname5 = Shadowing Department of Trade and Industry (United Kingdom)>Shadow Minister for Trade|leader6 = Neil Kinnock|1blankname6 = Shadowing|1namedata6 = Alan Clark|term_start6 = 13 July 1987|term_end6 = 23 November 1988|predecessor6 = Bryan Gould|successor6 = Robin Cook{{Collapsed infobox section end}}Member of Parliament (United Kingdom)>Member of Parliamentfor Sedgefield|term_start7 = 9 June 1983|term_end7 = 27 June 2007Constituency created{{ref label>electorate|nb}}Phil Wilson (British politician)>Phil Wilson|birthname = Anthony Charles Lynton Blair19536|df=y}}Edinburgh>Edinburgh, ScotlandLabour Party (UK)>Labour|parents = Leo Blair (father)Cherie Blair>29 March 1980}}|children = 4Chorister School, Durham>Fettes College}}St John's College, OxfordCity Law School>Inns of Court}}|signature = Signature of Tony Blair.pngtonyblairoffice.org}}electorateElectorate abolished on 28 February 1974 and reconstituted on 8 June 1983 {{xrefBoundary commissions (United Kingdom)>Boundary commissions)}}}}}}{{Tony Blair sidebar}}Anthony Charles Lynton Blair (born 6 May 1953) is a British politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1997 to 2007 and Leader of the Labour Party from 1994 to 2007. He was Leader of the Opposition from 1994 to 1997.From 1983 to 2007, Blair was the Member of Parliament (MP) for Sedgefield. He was elected Labour Party leader in July 1994, following the sudden death of his predecessor, John Smith. Under Blair's leadership, the party used the phrase "New Labour", to distance it from previous Labour policies and the traditional conception of socialism. Blair declared support for a new conception that he referred to as "social-ism", involving politics that recognised individuals as socially interdependent, and advocated social justice, cohesion, the equal worth of each citizen, and equal opportunity, also referred to as the Third Way.BOOK, Michael, Freeden, Liberal Languages: Ideological Imaginations and Twentieth-Century Progressive Thought, Princeton University Press, 2004, 198, Critics of Blair denounced him for bringing the Labour Party towards the perceived centre ground of British politics, abandoning genuine socialism and being too amenable to capitalism.BOOK, Florence, Faucher-King, Patrick, Le Galès, Gregory, Elliott, The New Labour experiment: change and reform under Blair and Brown, Stanford, California, USA, Stanford University Press, 2010, 18, MAGAZINE, Wheatcroft, Geoffrey, Geoffrey Wheatcroft, The Paradoxical Case of Tony Blair,weblink June 1996, The Atlantic Monthly, 277, 6, 22–40, 10 April 2014, [Blair] has appointed a shadow team of more than a hundred parliamentary spokesmen—a ridiculous number considering that there are only 271 Labour MPs in all., Supporters, including the party's public opinion pollster Philip Gould, stated that (after four consecutive general election defeats) the Labour Party had to demonstrate that it had made a decisive break from its left-wing past, in order to win an election again.Labour: The Wilderness Years (produced by Leonie Jameson), BBC 2, 3–18 December 1995.In May 1997, the Labour Party won a landslide general election victory, the largest in its history. Blair, at 43 years of age, became the youngest Prime Minister since 1812. In September 1997, Blair attained early personal popularity, receiving a 93% public approval rating, after his public response to the death of Diana, Princess of Wales.Blair is Mr 93%. Stephen Castle/Paul Routledge. The Independent (national newspaper). Published: 28 September 1997. Retrieved 6 May 2014.Tony Blair's Style of Government: An Interim Assessment â€“ Page 1. Political Issues in Britain Today. Editor: Bill Jones. Publisher: Manchester University Press. (5th edition). Published: 1999. Retrieved 6 May 2014.It's the way they tell' em {{webarchive|url=https://web.archive.org/web/20141227023736weblink |date=27 December 2014 }} Total Politics. Simon Hoggart. Retrieved 6 May 2014. The Labour Party went on to win two more general elections under his leadership: in 2001, in which it won another landslide victory, and in 2005, with a greatly reduced majority. During his first term as Prime Minister, his government oversaw a large increase in public spending and introduced the National Minimum Wage Act, Human Rights Act, and Freedom of Information Act. His government also held referendums in which the Scottish and Welsh electorates voted in favour of devolved administration. In Northern Ireland, Blair was involved in negotiating the Good Friday Agreement.Blair supported the foreign policy of the George W. Bush administration, and ensured that the British Armed Forces participated in the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan and, more controversially, the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Blair has faced criticism for his role in the invasion of Iraq, including calls for having him tried for war crimes and waging a war of aggression;NEWS, Coleman, Clive, Could Tony Blair face legal action over Iraq War?,weblink BBC, 7 July 2016, in 2016, the Iraq Inquiry criticised his actions and described the invasion as unjustified and unnecessary.Tony Blair unrepentant as Chilcot gives crushing Iraq war verdict, The GuardianChilcot report: Blair didn't tell truth about WMDs, the deal with Bush or the warnings of fallout – how Britain went to war in Iraq, The IndependentBlair was succeeded as Leader of the Labour Party and as Prime Minister by Gordon Brown in June 2007.NEWS, Brown is UK's new prime minister, BBC News,weblink 27 June 2007, 27 June 2007, On the day that Blair resigned as Prime Minister, he was appointed the official Special Envoy of the Quartet on the Middle East, an office which he held until May 2015.NEWS, Tony Blair quits Middle East envoy role,weblink 3 April 2016, BBC News, 27 May 2015, He currently runs the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change.NEWS,weblink Tony Blair to launch new institute for centre-ground politics, The Guardian, 1 December 2016, 1 February 2018,

Early years

Anthony Charles Lynton Blair was born at Queen Mary Maternity Home in Edinburgh, Scotland,NEWS, Blair's birthplace is bulldozed in Edinburgh,weblink Edinburgh Evening News, Johnston Press plc, 9 August 2006, 18 November 2006, dead,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20071013202856weblink">weblink 13 October 2007, on 6 May 1953.{{Who's Who|surname=BLAIR|othername=Rt Hon. Anthony Charles Lynton, (Tony)|id=U7759|volume=2015|edition=online Oxford University Press}} {{subscription required}}ENCYCLOPEDIA, Tony Blair profile,weblink Encyclopædia Britannica, He was the second son of Leo and Hazel ({{nee}} Corscadden) Blair.NEWS, Leo Blairyear=2012accessdate=14 May 2019, Leo Blair was the illegitimate son of two entertainers and was adopted as a baby by Glasgow shipyard worker James Blair and his wife, Mary.Blair: 'Why adoption is close to my heart', 21 December 2000, The Guardian Hazel Corscadden was the daughter of George Corscadden, a butcher and Orange Order who moved to Glasgow in 1916. In 1923, he returned to (and later died in) Ballyshannon>Ballyshannon, County Donegal. In Ballyshannon, Corscadden's wife, Sarah Margaret (née Lipsett), gave birth above the family's grocery shop to Blair's mother, Hazel.HTTP://WWW.BALLYSHANNON.IE/ARTICLE_LISTINGS.ASPX?TSCATEGORY_ID=276&CATEGORY_NAME=LOCAL+MAP>TITLE=LOCAL MAPACCESSDATE=22 NOVEMBER 2007URL-STATUS=DEADARCHIVEDATE=21 NOVEMBER 2009FIRST=NICHOLASFIRST2=OWENWORK=THE GUARDIANDATE=14 MARCH 2007QUOTE=IN THE SECOND PART OF OUR SERIES ON THE PEACE PROCESS, SINN FéIN CHIEF NEGOTIATOR MARTIN MCGUINNESS RECALLS HIS FIRST ENCOUNTER WITH THE PM AND EXPLAINS HOW HE SAVED THE GOOD FRIDAY DEAL, Blair has an older brother, Sir William Blair, a High Court judge, and a younger sister, Sarah. Blair's first home was with his family at Paisley Terrace in the Willowbrae area of Edinburgh. During this period, his father worked as a junior tax inspector whilst also studying for a law degree from the University of Edinburgh.Blair's first relocation was when he was nineteen months old. At the end of 1954, Blair's parents and their two sons moved from Paisley Terrace to Adelaide, South Australia.NEWS, Julia Langdon,weblink "Leo Blair obituary" The Guardian, 17 November 2012, Theguardian.com, 17 November 2012, 2018-06-08, The Guardian, His father lectured in law at the University of Adelaide.NEWS, Tony's big adventure,weblink The Observer, UK, The Guardian, 27 April 2003, 18 November 2006, Kamal, Ahmed, It was when in Australia that Blair's sister Sarah was born. The Blairs lived in the suburb of Dulwich close to the university. The family returned to the United Kingdom in the summer of 1958. They lived for a time with Hazel's mother and stepfather (William McClay) at their home in Stepps on the outskirts of north-east Glasgow. Blair's father accepted a job as a lecturer at Durham University, and thus moved the family to Durham, England. Aged five, this marked the beginning of a long association Blair was to have with Durham.Since his childhood, in football, Tony Blair has been a Newcastle United fan.WEB,weblink Newcastle fan Tony Blair shock candidate for key Premier League role, 20 September 2018, NEWS,weblink British Prime Ministers and their passion for football, 29 June 2010, Marriage, Madison, NEWS,weblink Blair football 'myth' cleared up, 26 November 2008,

Education years and legal career

With his parents basing their family in Durham, Blair attended Chorister School from 1961 to 1966.WEB,weblinkweblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20071021173809weblink">weblink 21 October 2007, Alumni Roll Call, Durham Chorister School website, 22 November 2007, Aged thirteen, he was sent to spend his school term time boarding at Fettes College in Edinburgh from 1966 to 1971.NEWS,weblink Tony Blair's revolting schooldays, Ed Black's diary, The Scotsman, Edinburgh, 23 July 2004, 22 November 2007, Blair is reported to have hated his time at Fettes.NEWS, 6:55PM GMT 16 Nov 2012,weblink "leo Blair" The Telegraph 16 Nov 2012, Telegraph.co.uk, 2012-11-16, 2018-06-08, His teachers were unimpressed with him; his biographer, John Rentoul, reported that "All the teachers I spoke to when researching the book said he was a complete pain in the backside and they were very glad to see the back of him." Blair reportedly modelled himself on Mick Jagger, lead singer of The Rolling Stones.NEWS,weblink Tony Blair absolutely modelled himself on Mick Jagger, Victoria, Powell, The Guardian, UK, 6 January 2006, 22 November 2007, TV producer Victoria Powell explains how she recreated the PM's adventures in 1970s rock, During his time there he met Charlie Falconer (a pupil at the rival Edinburgh Academy), whom he later appointed Lord Chancellor.Leaving Fettes College at the age of eighteen, Blair next spent a year in London attempting to find fame as a rock music promoter.In 1972, at the age of nineteen, Blair enrolled for university at St John's College, Oxford, reading Jurisprudence for three years.BOOK, Michaelmas Term 1974, Oxford University Press, Complete Alphabetical List of the Resident Members of the University of Oxford, 1974, 10, As a student, he played guitar and sang in a rock band called Ugly Rumours,AV MEDIA, Huntley, John, John Huntley (film historian), Mark Ellen talks about Tony Blair in Ugly Rumours. Film 90788,weblink 24 January 2016, YouTube, 1990, YouTube video, and performed some stand-up comedy, including parodying James T. Kirk as a character named Captain Kink.NEWS,weblink Tony Blair recalls 'dire' standup attempts and his role as 'Captain Kink', Chris Wiegand, The Guardian, 27 November 2015, 25 September 2016, He was influenced by fellow student and Anglican priest Peter Thomson, who awakened his religious faith and left-wing politics. While at Oxford, Blair has stated that he was briefly a Trotskyist, after reading the first volume of Isaac Deutscher's biography of Leon Trotsky, which was "like a light going on".NEWS,weblink Tony Blair reveals he was a student 'Trot' inspired to enter politics by the life of Bolshevik leader Leon Trotsky, Rob, Merrick, Independent, UK, 10 August 2017, 13 August 2017, "I suddenly thought the world's full of these extraordinary causes and injustices and here's this this guy Trotsky who was so inspired by all of this that he went out to create a Russian revolution and change the world. It was like a light going on.", NEWS,weblink Blair reveals he 'toyed with Marxism' after reading book on Trotsky, Anushka, Asthana, The Guardian, UK, 10 August 2017, 13 August 2017, He graduated from Oxford at the age of 22 in 1975 with a second-class Honours B.A. in Jurisprudence.NEWS,weblink Why have so many PMs gone to Oxford?, Nimmo, Joe, 5 October 2016, BBC News, 14 December 2017, WEB,weblink British Prime Ministers {{!, University of Oxford|website=www.ox.ac.uk|language=en|accessdate=14 December 2017}}In 1975, while Blair was at Oxford, his mother Hazel died of thyroid cancer, which greatly affected him.After Oxford Blair then became a member of Lincoln's Inn and enrolled as a pupil barrister. He met his future wife, Cherie Booth (daughter of the actor Tony Booth) at the law chambers founded by Derry Irvine (who was to be Blair's first Lord Chancellor), 11 King's Bench Walk Chambers.BOOK,weblink's+Inn+and+meeting+cherie+booth#v=onepage&q=tony%20blair%20a%20member%20of%20Lincoln's%20Inn%20and%20meeting%20cherie%20booth&f=false, Electronic Democracy and the UK 2001 Elections, Segell, Glen, 2001, Glen Segell Publishers, 9781901414233,

Early political career

Blair joined the Labour Party shortly after graduating from Oxford in 1975. In the early 1980s, he was involved in Labour politics in Hackney South and Shoreditch, where he aligned himself with the "soft left" of the party. He put himself forward as a candidate for the Hackney council elections of 1982 in Queensbridge ward, a safe Labour area, but was not selected.John Rentoul, Tony Blair, Warner Books, 1996, p. 101.In 1982, Blair was selected as the Labour Party candidate for the safe Conservative seat of Beaconsfield, where there was a forthcoming by-election."Labour's Old Romantic: A Film Portrait of Michael Foot", BBC Two, Friday 5 March 2010. Portion available here weblink. Although Blair lost the Beaconsfield by-election and Labour's share of the vote fell by 10 percentage points, he acquired a profile within the party.{{citation needed|date=January 2016}} Despite his defeat William Russell, political correspondent for The Glasgow Herald, described Blair as "a very good candidate", while acknowledging that the result was "a disaster" for the Labour Party.NEWS, Russell, William, By-election boost for Thatcher's stance,weblink 27 August 2019, The Glasgow Herald, 28 May 1982, 1, In contrast to his later centrism, Blair made it clear in a letter he wrote to Labour leader Michael Foot in July 1982 (published in 2006) that he had "come to Socialism through Marxism" and considered himself on the left.NEWS, Tony, Blair, The full text of Tony Blair's letter to Michael Foot written in July 1982,weblink The Daily Telegraph, July 1982, 18 November 2006, London, UK, Like Tony Benn, Blair believed that "Labour right" was bankrupt:BOOK, David Marquand, Britain Since 1918: The Strange Career Of British Democracy,weblink 30 December 2010, Orion, 978-0-297-85636-8, 197, "Socialism ultimately must appeal to the better minds of the people. You cannot do that if you are tainted overmuch with a pragmatic period in power." Yet, he saw the hard left as no better, saying:With a general election due, Blair had not been selected as a candidate anywhere. He was invited to stand again in Beaconsfield, and was initially inclined to agree but was advised by his head of chambers Derry Irvine to find somewhere else which might be winnable.John Rentoul, "Tony Blair", Warner Books, 1996, p. 109. The situation was complicated by the fact that Labour was fighting a legal action against planned boundary changes, and had selected candidates on the basis of previous boundaries. When the legal challenge failed, the party had to rerun all selections on the new boundaries; most were based on existing seats, but unusually in County Durham a new Sedgefield constituency had been created out of Labour-voting areas which had no obvious predecessor seat.John Rentoul, Tony Blair, Warner Books, 1996, p. 115.The selection for Sedgefield did not begin until after the 1983 general election was called. Blair's initial inquiries discovered that the left was trying to arrange the selection for Les Huckfield, sitting MP for Nuneaton who was trying elsewhere; several sitting MPs displaced by boundary changes were also interested in it. When he discovered the Trimdon branch had not yet made a nomination, Blair visited them and won the support of the branch secretary John Burton, and with Burton's help was nominated by the branch. At the last minute, he was added to the shortlist and won the selection over Huckfield. It was the last candidate selection made by Labour before the election, and was made after the Labour Party had issued biographies of all its candidates ("Labour's Election Who's Who")."Labour's Election Who's Who", Labour Party, 1983, Appendix p. 2.John Burton became Blair's election agent and one of his most trusted and longest-standing allies.NEWS, Blair's agent suspended over foul-mouthed threat,weblink 4 February 2016, The Guardian, Press Association, 10 October 2007, Blair's election literature in the 1983 general election endorsed left-wing policies that Labour advocated in the early 1980s.{{citation needed|date=January 2016}} He called for Britain to leave the EECBOOK, Coleman, Vernon, The Truth They Won't Tell You (And Don't Want You To Know) About The EU, 2006,weblink 4 February 2016, as early as the 1970s,NEWS, 1975: Labour votes to leave the EEC,weblink 4 February 2016, BBC News, though he had told his selection conference that he personally favoured continuing membership{{citation needed|date=January 2016}} and voted "Yes" in the 1975 referendum on the subject. He opposed the Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM) in 1986 but supported the ERM by 1989.NEWS, Johnston, Philip, Home front,weblink 4 February 2016, The Daily Telegraph, 26 April 2004, He was a member of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, despite never strongly being in favour of unilateral nuclear disarmament.BOOK, Anthony Seldon, Blair Unbound,weblink 4 September 2008, Simon and Schuster, 978-1-84739-499-6, 454, Blair was helped on the campaign trail by soap opera actress Pat Phoenix, his father-in-law's girlfriend. At the age of thirty, he was elected as MP for Sedgefield in 1983; despite the party's landslide defeat at the general election.{{citation needed|date=January 2016}}In his maiden speech in the House of Commons on 6 July 1983, Blair stated, "I am a socialist not through reading a textbook that has caught my intellectual fancy, nor through unthinking tradition, but because I believe that, at its best, socialism corresponds most closely to an existence that is both rational and moral. It stands for cooperation, not confrontation; for fellowship, not fear. It stands for equality."WEB,weblink America's Friend: Reflections on Tony Blair, 18 November 2006, Seddon, Mark, 2004, Logos 3.4, Once elected, Blair's political ascent was rapid. He received his first front-bench appointment in 1984 as assistant Treasury spokesman. In May 1985, he appeared on BBC's Question Time, arguing that the Conservative Government's Public Order White Paper was a threat to civil liberties.WEB,weblink BBC Archive, BBC Programme Catalogue, 20 April 2010, Blair demanded an inquiry into the Bank of England's decision to rescue the collapsed Johnson Matthey bank in October 1985. By this time, Blair was aligned with the reforming tendencies in the party (headed by leader Neil Kinnock) and was promoted after the 1987 election to the Shadow Trade and Industry team as spokesman on the City of London.{{citation needed|date=January 2016}}

Leadership roles

In 1987, he stood for election to the Shadow Cabinet, receiving 71 votes.NEWS, John, Carvel, A fresh team of 'Yaks' will take on Labour's burden, The Guardian, 9 July 1987, 2, When Kinnock resigned after a fourth consecutive Conservative victory in the 1992 general election, Blair became Shadow Home Secretary under John Smith. The old guard argued that trends showed they were regaining strength under Smith's strong leadership. Meanwhile, the breakaway SDP faction had merged with the Liberal Party; the resulting Liberal Democrats seemed to pose a major threat to the Labour base. Blair, the leader of the modernising faction, had an entirely different vision, arguing that the long-term trends had to be reversed. The Labour Party was too locked into a base that was shrinking, since it was based on the working-class, on trade unions, and on residents of subsidised council housing. The rapidly growing middle-class was largely ignored, especially the more ambitious working-class families. They aspired to middle-class status, but accepted the Conservative argument that Labour was holding ambitious people back with its levelling-down policies. They increasingly saw Labour in terms defined by the opposition, regarding higher taxes and higher interest rates. The steps towards what would become New Labour were procedural, but essential. Calling on the slogan, "One member, one vote" John Smith (with limited input from Blair) secured an end to the trade union block vote for Westminster candidate selection at the 1993 conference.John Rentoul, Tony Blair: Prime Minister (2001) pp. 206–18 But Blair and the modernisers wanted Smith to go further still, and called for radical adjustment of Party goals by repealing "Clause IV," the historic commitment to nationalisation of industry. This would be achieved in 1995.Rentoul, Tony Blair (2001) pp. 249–66.

Leader of the Opposition

{{See also|Shadow Cabinet of Tony Blair}} John Smith died suddenly in 1994 of a heart attack. Blair defeated John Prescott and Margaret Beckett in the subsequent leadership election and became Leader of the Opposition.NEWS, Timeline: The Blair Years,weblink BBC News, 2 May 2013, 10 May 2007, As is customary for the holder of that office, Blair was appointed a Privy Councillor.WEB, Leigh, Rayment, PRIVY COUNSELLORS 1969–present,weblink 2 May 2013, File:Felipe González recibe al líder del partido laborista británico. Pool Moncloa. 9 de abril de 1996.jpeg|thumb|right|Blair meeting with Felipe González at Moncloa Palace, April 1996.]]Blair announced at the end of his speech at the 1994 Labour Party conference that he intended to replace Clause IV of the party's constitution with a new statement of aims and values. This involved the deletion of the party's stated commitment to "the common ownership of the means of production and exchange", which was widely interpreted as referring to wholesale nationalisation.BOOK, How We Got Here: The '70s, Frum, David, David Frum, 2000, Basic Books, New York, New York, 0-465-04195-7, 326,weblink At a special conference in April 1995, the clause was replaced by a statement that the party is "democratic socialist",BOOK, Peter Barberis, John McHugh, Mike Tyldesley, Encyclopedia of British and Irish Political Organizations: Parties, Groups and Movements of the 20th Century,weblink 2000, A&C Black, 978-0-8264-5814-8, 268, WEB,weblinkweblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20061116065904weblink">weblink 16 November 2006, About Labour, 18 November 2006, 2006, The Labour Party, and Blair also claimed to be a "democratic socialist" himself in the same year.BOOK, Blair, Tony, Anthony Charles Lynton Blair, Let Us Face the Future, Fabian Society, London School of Economics, LSE Digital Library, 2, 571,weblink 3 January 2016, 2: Labour Past, Present and Future, 1995, However, the move away from nationalisation in the old Clause IV made many on the left wing of the Labour Party feel that Labour was moving away from traditional socialist principles of nationalisation set out in 1918, and was seen by them as part of a shift of the party towards "New Labour".NEWS, Gani, Aisha, Clause IV: a brief history,weblink 23 January 2016, The Guardian, 9 August 2015, He inherited the Labour leadership at a time when the party was ascendant over the Conservatives in the opinion polls, since the Conservative government's reputation for monetary excellence record was left in tatters by the Black Wednesday economic disaster of September 1992. Blair's election as leader saw Labour support surge higher stillNEWS,weblink BBC News, 1997: Labour landslide ends Tory rule, 15 April 2005, in spite of the continuing economic recovery and fall in unemployment that the Conservative government (led by John Major) had overseen since the end of the 1990–92 recession. At the 1996 Labour Party conference, Blair stated that his three top priorities on coming to office were "education, education, and education"."Education, education, education", BBC News, 14 May 2007. Retrieved 8 March 2010.Aided by the unpopularity of John Major's Conservative government (itself deeply divided over the European UnionSee Maastricht Rebels), "New Labour" won a landslide victory at the 1997 general election, ending eighteen years of Conservative Party rule, with the heaviest Conservative defeat since 1906.NEWS, Early, Chas, May 2, 1997: Labour win general election by a landslide to end 18 years of Conservative rule,weblink 24 January 2016, BT news, 2 May 2015, The Labour Party won its greatest-ever number of seats in a landslide general election victory on this day in 1997, ending 18 years of Conservative rule... In their worst election defeat since 1906 the Conservatives retained just 165 MPs, with their smallest share of the vote since 1832 under the Duke of Wellington., According to diaries released by Paddy Ashdown, during Smith's leadership of the Labour Party, there were discussions with Ashdown about forming a coalition government if the next general election resulted in a hung parliament. Ashdown also claimed that Blair was a supporter of proportional representation (PR).NEWS, Blair wanted coalition says Ashdown,weblink 24 January 2016, BBC News, 23 October 2000, In addition to Ashdown, Liberal Democrat MPs Menzies Campbell and Alan Beith were earmarked for places in the cabinet if a Labour-Lib Dem coalition was formed.NEWS, Blair mooted Lib Dem coalition deal â€“ Ashdown,weblink 24 January 2016, The Guardian, 23 October 2000, Blair was forced to back down on these proposals because John Prescott and Gordon Brown opposed the PR system, and many members of the Shadow Cabinet were worried about concessions being made towards the Lib Dems. In the event, virtually every opinion poll since late-1992 put Labour ahead with enough support to form an overall majority.All Guardian/ICM poll results (Google Docs). Via this article.

Prime Minister

{{Further|Blair ministry}}File:Clinton Blair.jpg|thumb|Blair with U.S. President Bill ClintonBill ClintonBlair became the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom on 2 May 1997, serving concurrently as First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service and Leader of the Labour Party. Aged 43, Blair became the youngest person to become Prime Minister since Lord Liverpool became Prime Minister aged 42 in 1812.WEB,weblinkweblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20070604003655weblink">weblink 4 June 2007, Biography: The Prime Minister Tony Charles Lynton Blair, 18 November 2006, Prime Minister's Office, He was also the first Prime Minister born after World War II and the accession of Elizabeth II to the throne. With victories in 1997, 2001, and 2005, Blair was the Labour Party's longest-serving Prime Minister,"Blair Labour's longest-serving PM", BBC News, 6 February 2005. and the first and only person to date to lead the party to three consecutive general election victories.NEWS,weblink Tony Blair: 'Labour can win at any point that it wants to get back to winning ways', ... made possible only by his unique feat of winning three back-to-back terms for his party, The Guardian, 30 April 2017, Rawnsley, Andrew,

Northern Ireland

File:TonyBlairArmagh1998.jpg|thumb|Blair addressing a crowd in ArmaghArmaghHis contribution towards assisting the Northern Ireland peace process by helping to negotiate the Good Friday Agreement (after 30 years of conflict) was widely recognised.BBC News Archive, "1998: Northern Ireland peace deal reached"Philip Stephens, "Blair’s remarkable record", Financial Times, 10 May 2007 Following the Omagh bombing on 15 August 1998, by members of the Real IRA opposed to the peace process, which killed 29 people and wounded hundreds, Blair visited the County Tyrone town and met with victims at Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast.Telegraph.co.uk: Omagh, Northern Ireland's worst atrocity 24 December 2007

Military intervention and the War on Terror

In his first six years in office, Blair ordered British troops into combat five times, more than any other prime minister in British history. This included Iraq in both 1998 and 2003, Kosovo (1999), Sierra Leone (2000) and Afghanistan (2001)."Blair: The Inside Story", BBC, 22 February 2007.The Kosovo War, which Blair had advocated on moral grounds, was initially a failure when it relied solely on air strikes; the threat of a ground offensive convinced Serbia's Slobodan MiloÅ¡ević to withdraw. Blair had been a major advocate for a ground offensive, which Bill Clinton was reluctant to do, and ordered that 50,000 soldiers – most of the available British Army – should be made ready for action.Andrew Marr, A History of Modern Britain (2008 printing), p. 550 The following year, the limited Operation Palliser in Sierra Leone swiftly swung the tide against the rebel forces; before deployment, the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone had been on the verge of collapse.Gberie, Lansana (2005). A Dirty War in West Africa: the RUF and the Destruction of Sierra Leone, p. 176. Indiana UP. Palliser had been intended as an evacuation mission but Brigadier David Richards was able to convince Blair to allow him to expand the role; at the time, Richards' action was not known and Blair was assumed to be behind it.NEWS, The brigadier who saved Sierra Leone, Allan, Little,weblink BBC News, 15 May 2010, 20 March 2011, Blair ordered Operation Barras, a highly successful SAS/Parachute Regiment strike to rescue hostages from a Sierra Leone rebel group.WEB,weblink After 16 long days, free in 20 minutes, 11 September 2000, The Guardian, 29 October 2014, Historian Andrew Marr has argued that the success of ground attacks, real and threatened, over air strikes alone was influential on how Blair planned the Iraq War, and that the success of the first three wars Blair fought "played to his sense of himself as a moral war leader".Andrew Marr, A History of Modern Britain (2008 printing); p. 551 When asked in 2010 if the success of Palliser may have "embolden[ed] British politicians" to think of military action as a policy option, General Sir David Richards admitted there "might be something in that".File:Blair Bush Whitehouse (2004-11-12).jpg|thumb|left|Tony Blair and George W. BushGeorge W. BushFrom the start of the War on Terror in 2001, Blair strongly supported the foreign policy of George W. Bush, participating in the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan and 2003 invasion of Iraq. The invasion of Iraq was particularly controversial, as it attracted widespread public opposition and 139 of Blair's own MPs opposed it.NEWS,weblink BBC News, The rise and fall of New Labour, 3 August 2010, As a result, he faced criticism over the policy itself and the circumstances of the decision. Alastair Campbell described Blair's statement that the intelligence on WMDs was "beyond doubt" as his "assessment of the assessment that was given to him."Quoted by satirist Armando Ianucci and called his 'favourite sentence of the Inquiry so far'], Radio 5 Live. Retrieved 23 January 2016. In 2009, Blair stated that he would have supported removing Saddam Hussein from power even in the face of proof that he had no such weapons.NEWS, Riazat, Butt, Richard, Norton-Taylor,weblink Tony Blair admits: I would have invaded Iraq anyway, The Guardian, 12 December 2009, 20 April 2010, London, UK, Playwright Harold Pinter and former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad accused Blair of war crimes.NEWS,weblink Malaysian former PM Mahathir accuses Tony Blair as war criminal, Xinhua News Agency, 1 August 2008, 20 April 2010, dead,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20090705140700weblink">weblink 5 July 2009, dmy-all, NEWS, David, Fickling,weblink Pinter demands war crimes trial for Blair, The Guardian, 7 December 2005, 20 April 2010, London, UK, Testifying before the Iraq Inquiry on 29 January 2010, Blair said Saddam was a "monster and I believe he threatened not just the region but the world."NEWS,weblink Iraq inquiry hears defiant Blair say: I'd do it again, BBC News, 29 January 2010, 29 January 2010, Blair said that British and American attitude towards Saddam Hussein had "changed dramatically" after the 11 September attacks. Blair denied that he would have supported the invasion of Iraq even if he had thought Saddam had no weapons of mass destruction. He said he believed the world was safer as a result of the invasion.NEWS,weblink Tony Blair defends UK involvement in Iraq war, BBC News, 29 January 2010, 29 January 2010, He said there was "no real difference between wanting regime change and wanting Iraq to disarm: regime change was US policy because Iraq was in breach of its UN obligations."NEWS,weblink The Guardian, UK, 29 January 2010, 29 January 2010, Tony Blair at Iraq inquiry â€“ the key points, Helene, Mulholland, Andrew, Sparrow, In an October 2015 CNN interview with Fareed Zakaria, Blair apologised for his "mistakes" over Iraq War and admitted there were "elements of truth" to the view that the invasion helped promote the rise of ISIS.Richard Osley, "Tony Blair apologises for 'mistakes' over Iraq War and admits 'elements of truth' to view that invasion helped rise of ISIS", The Independent, 25 October 2015. Retrieved 28 October 2015. The Chilcot Inquiry report of 2016 gave a damning assessment of Blair's role in the Iraq War, though the former prime minister again refused to apologise for his decision to back the US-led invasion.NEWS, Tony Blair unrepentant as Chilcot gives crushing Iraq war verdict,weblink The Guardian, 7 July 2016, 6 July 2016, Harding, Luke,

Relationship with Parliament

One of his first acts as Prime Minister, was to replace the then twice-weekly 15-minute sessions of Prime Minister's Questions held on Tuesdays and Thursdays with a single 30-minute session on Wednesdays. In addition to PMQs, Blair held monthly press conferences at which he fielded questions from journalistsNEWS, Matthew, Tempest, Tony Blair's press conference,weblink The Guardian, Guardian Newspapers Ltd., 7 September 2004, 21 November 2006, London, UK, and – from 2002 – broke precedent by agreeing to give evidence twice yearly before the most senior Commons select committee, the Liaison Committee."Blair agrees to face grilling by select committee critics", The Daily Telegraph, 27 April 2002. Retrieved 8 March 2010. Blair was sometimes perceived as paying insufficient attention both to the views of his own Cabinet colleagues and to those of the House of Commons.Ian Kershaw, "How will history judge Blair?", BBC News, 10 May 2007.BOOK, Essential Public Affairs for Journalists, Morrison, James, Oxford University Press, 2015, 978-0-198-70875-9, Oxford, 85, 4th, His style was sometimes criticised as not that of a prime minister and head of government, which he was, but of a president and head of state – which he was not.Timothy Garton Ash, "President Blair: Americans love our leader but may cause his downfall", The Guardian, 24 July 2003. Blair was accused of excessive reliance on spin.Andrew Marr, "How Blair put the media in a spin" BBC News, 10 May 2007 He is the first UK prime minister to have been formally questioned by police, though not under caution, while still in office."Blair questioned in honours probe", BBC News, 14 December 2006

Events before resignation

{{For timeline|Timeline of the 2007 Labour Party (UK) leadership election}}(File:Blair visiting Poland April 07.jpg|thumb|Blair in 2007)As the casualties of the Iraq War mounted, Blair was accused of misleading Parliament,"Blair a casualty of UK support for Iraq war", The Washington Times, 8 November 2003."Diplomat's suppressed document lays bare the lies behind Iraq war", The Independent, 15 December 2006. and his popularity dropped dramatically."Blair Risked Much in Support of U.S.-UK Friendship", NPR, 9 May 2007."Talk of war dents Blair's popularity", The Daily Telegraph, 17 February 2003.Labour's overall majority at the 2005 general election was reduced from 167 to 66 seats. As a combined result of the Blair–Brown pact, Iraq war and low approval ratings, pressure built up within the Labour Party for Blair to resign."Tony Blair to Resign in a Year", ABC News, 7 September 2006.The End of the Tony Show, Der Spiegel, 10 May 2007. Over the summer of 2006 many MPs, including usually supportive MPs, criticised Blair for not calling for a ceasefire in the 2006 Israel–Lebanon conflict.BOOK,weblink Ed: The Milibands and the making of a Labour leader, Mehdi Hasan, James Macintyre, Biteback Publishing, 2011, 978-1-84954-102-2, MPs now agree that the Lebanon fiasco did more than any other single episode to lead to the eventual removal of Blair, On 7 September 2006, Blair publicly stated he would step down as party leader by the time of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) conference held 10–13 September 2007,NEWS, I will quit within a year â€“ Blair,weblink BBC News, 7 September 2006, 18 November 2006, having promised to serve a full term during the previous general election campaign. On 10 May 2007, during a speech at the Trimdon Labour Club, Blair announced his intention to resign as both Labour Party leader and Prime Minister.{{citation needed|date=January 2016}}At a special party conference in Manchester on 24 June 2007, he formally handed over the leadership of the Labour Party to Gordon Brown, who had been Chancellor of the Exchequer under Blair's three ministries. Blair tendered his resignation on 27 June 2007 and Brown assumed office during the same afternoon. Blair resigned from his Sedgefield seat in the House of Commons in the traditional form of accepting the Stewardship of the Chiltern Hundreds, to which he was appointed by Gordon Brown in one of the latter's last acts as Chancellor of the Exchequer.NEWS, Blair resigns as MP and heads for Mideast role, The Independent, UK,weblink 27 June 2007, 27 June 2007, Joe, Churcher, Andrew, Woodcock, dead,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20071001033125weblink">weblink 1 October 2007, The resulting Sedgefield by-election was won by Labour's candidate, Phil Wilson. Blair decided not to issue a list of Resignation Honours, making him the first Prime Minister of the modern era not to do so.NEWS,weblink Tony Blair refuses to produce an honours list, Andrew, Pierce, The Daily Telegraph, UK, 7 October 2007, 7 October 2008,

Policies

{{Further|Blairism}}

Social reforms

In 2001, Blair said, "We are a left of centre party, pursuing economic prosperity and social justice as partners and not as opposites".Polly Toynbee, Michael White and Patrick Wintour "We're a left-of-centre party pursuing prosperity and social justice", The Guardian, 11 September 2001. Blair rarely applies such labels to himself, but he promised before the 1997 election that New Labour would govern "from the radical centre", and according to one lifelong Labour Party member, has always described himself as a social democrat."The Death of Socialism", hulver.com, 17 May 2007. However, at least one left-wing commentator has said that Blair is to the right of centre.Neal Lawson, "A decade of Blair has left the Labour party on its knees", The Guardian, 19 April 2007 A YouGov opinion poll in 2005 found that a small majority of British voters, including many New Labour supporters, place Blair on the right of the political spectrum.YouGov UK Polling Report, Left vs Right, 23 September 2005 The Financial Times on the other hand has argued that Blair is not conservative, but instead a populist."Why Blair was no conservative", Financial Times, 18 May 2007.Critics and admirers tend to agree that Blair's electoral success was based on his ability to occupy the centre ground and appeal to voters across the political spectrum, to the extent that he has been fundamentally at odds with traditional Labour Party values. Some left-wing critics, such as Mike Marqusee in 2001, argued that Blair oversaw the final stage of a long term shift of the Labour Party to the right.Mike Marquesee, "Labour's long march to the right", International Socialism, Issue 91, Summer 2001There is some evidence that Blair's long term dominance of the centre forced his Conservative opponents to shift a long distance to the left to challenge his hegemony there.Mark Rice-Oxley, "Tony Blair's decade of peace and war", The Christian Science Monitor, 11 May 2007. Leading Conservatives of the post-New Labour era hold Blair in high regard: George Osborne describes him as "the master", Michael Gove thought he had an "entitlement to conservative respect" in February 2003, while David Cameron reportedly maintained Blair as an informal adviser.NEWS, Conservatives: the party of business?,weblink Financial Times, 3 February 2016, 8 February 2016, Jim, Pickard, NEWS, Gove, Michael,weblink I can't fight my feelings any more: I love Tony, The Times, London, 25 February 2003, 17 January 2017, {{subscription required}}NEWS, Oborne, Peter, 22 May 2014, David Cameron's friendship with Tony Blair is starting to do serious damage,weblink The Daily Telegraph, 8 February 2016, Blair increased police powers by adding to the number of arrestable offences, compulsory DNA recording and the use of dispersal orders.Jon Silverman, Legal affairs analyst, "Blair's new look civil liberties", BBC News, 14 May 2007. Under Blair's government the amount of new legislation increasedWEB,weblink Tony Blair's legacy: 20% jump in amount of legislation introduced per year, 1 June 2007, 20 April 2010, which attracted criticism.Blair's 'frenzied law making': a new offence for every day spent in office, 16 August 2006. Retrieved 12 March 2010. He also introduced tough anti-terrorism and identity card legislation.

Economic policies

File:World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2005a.jpg|thumb|Blair at the World Economic ForumWorld Economic ForumDuring his time as prime minister, Blair raised taxes; introduced a National Minimum Wage and some new employment rights (while keeping Margaret Thatcher's trade union reformsNEWS, Margaret Thatcher's legacy,weblink The Independent, 2 May 2013, 8 April 2013, ); introduced significant constitutional reforms; promoted new rights for gay people in the Civil Partnership Act 2004; and signed treaties integrating Britain more closely with the EU. He introduced substantial market-based reforms in the education and health sectors; introduced student tuition fees and sought to reduce certain categories of welfare payments. He did not reverse the privatisation of the railways enacted by his predecessor John Major and instead strengthened regulation (by creating the Office of Rail Regulation) and limited fare rises to inflation +1%.{{citation|url=http://orr.gov.uk/about-orr/who-we-are|title=Who we are|publisher=Office of Rail Regulation|date=28 January 2014|accessdate=11 March 2014}}Explanatory Notes to the Act, opsi.gov.uk. Retrieved 8 February 2016.WEB,weblink Rail fares and franchises, 8 February 2016, (File:NHS Spending 1948-2014.png|thumb|upright=1.15|NHS spending 1948/49 to 2014/15WEB,weblink Health spending, )Blair and Brown raised spending on the NHS and other public services, increasing spending from 39.9% of GDP to 48.1% in 2010−11.NEWS, Riley, Ben,weblink Did New Labour spend too much in government?, Telegraph, 2015-05-01, 2018-06-08, WEB,weblink Public spending under Labour, 2018-06-08, They pledged in 2001 to bring NHS spending to the levels of other European countries, and doubled spending in real terms to over £100 billion in England alone.WEB,weblink Subscribe to read, Financial Times, {{Subscription required}}

Immigration

Non-European immigration rose significantly during the period from 1997, not least because of the government's abolition of the primary purpose rule in June 1997.WEB,weblink BBC Politics 97, This change made it easier for UK residents to bring foreign spouses into the country.The former government advisor Andrew Neather in the Evening Standard stated that the deliberate policy of ministers from late-2000 until early-2008 was to open up the UK to mass migration.NEWS,weblink Don't listen to the whingers – London needs immigrants, Andrew, Neather, Evening Standard, London, 23 October 2009, 26 November 2009, dead,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20091202101114weblink">weblink 2 December 2009, dmy-all, NEWS,weblink Labour wanted mass immigration to make UK more multicultural, says former adviser, Tom, Whitehead, Daily Telegraph, London, 23 October 2009, 28 October 2009,

Environmental record

Blair criticised other governments for not doing enough to solve global climate change. In a 1997 visit to the United States, he made a comment on "great industrialised nations" that fail to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Again in 2003, Blair went before the United States Congress and said that climate change "cannot be ignored", insisting "we need to go beyond even Kyoto."Tony Blair and Global Warming {{webarchive|url=https://web.archive.org/web/20081008043739weblink |date=8 October 2008 }}, Brookings.edu, 18 November 2003. Retrieved 16 April 2008. Blair and his party promised a 20% reduction in carbon dioxide.Jeremy Lovell, Britain Set to Miss its Own Greenhouse Gas Target Britain Set to Miss its Own Greenhouse Gas Target Planet Ark, 29 March 2006 The Labour Party also claimed that by 2010 10% of the energy would come from renewable resources; however, it only reached 7% by that point.WEB,weblink Electricity generation, In 2000, Blair "flagged up" 100 million euros for green policies and urged environmentalists and businesses to work together.Blair defends green record BBC News, 24 October 2000. Retrieved 17 April 2008.

Foreign policy

File:Chirac Bush Blair Berlusconi.jpg|thumb|Jacques Chirac, George W. Bush, Tony Blair and Silvio Berlusconi during the G8 Summit in Évian, June 2003]]Blair built his foreign policy on basic principles (close ties with U.S. and E.U.) and added a new activist philosophy of "interventionism". In 2001 Britain joined the U.S. in the global war on terror.Jack Holland, Selling the war on terror: foreign policy discourses after 9/11 (2012)Blair forged friendships with several European leaders, including Silvio Berlusconi of Italy,"Blair attacked over right-wing EU links" BBC News, 15 March 2002. Angela Merkel of GermanyEd Vulliamy, "By their friends shall we know the Sultans of Bling: Blair's relationships with Berlusconi, Bush and Murdoch have defined his premiership. Now Merkel is to join the trio", The Guardian, 27 October 2005 and later Nicolas Sarkozy of France.Martin Kettle, "Why Ségo and Sarko have transfixed the British left", The Guardian, 28 April 2007.File:2005 03 01 rice blair 600.jpg|thumb|Blair meets with US Secretary of State Condoleezza RiceCondoleezza RiceAlong with enjoying a close relationship with Bill Clinton, Blair formed a strong political alliance with George W. Bush, particularly in the area of foreign policy. For his part, Bush lauded Blair and the UK. In his post-9/11 speech, for example, he stated that "America has no truer friend than Great Britain".WEB,weblink President Declares 'Freedom at War with Fear', 21 November 2001, archives.gov, dead,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20080225062850weblink">weblink 25 February 2008, dmy-all, The alliance between Bush and Blair seriously damaged Blair's standing in the eyes of Britons angry at American influence.NEWS,weblink Stand up to US, voters tell Blair, Julian, Glover, Ewen, MacAskill, The Guardian, UK, 25 July 2006, 22 November 2007, Britain should take a much more robust and independent approach to the United States, according to a Guardian/ICM poll published today, which finds strong public opposition to Blair's close working relationship with President Bush., Blair argued it was in Britain's interest to "protect and strengthen the bond" with the United States regardless of who is in the White House.WEB,weblink PM's speech on US Elections, 29 May 2007, 3 November 2004, Prime Minister's Office, dead,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20070719002546weblink">weblink 19 July 2007, dmy-all, However, a perception of one-sided compromising personal and political closeness led to discussion of the term "Poodle-ism" in the UK media, to describe the "Special Relationship" of the UK government and Prime Minister with the US White House and President.NEWS, Hugo, Young,weblink Blair has not been a poodle, but poodleism still beckons, The Guardian, 14 November 2002, 20 April 2010, London, UK, A revealing conversation between Bush and Blair, with the former addressing the latter as "Yo [or Yeah], Blair" was recorded when they did not know a microphone was live at the G8 summit in Saint Petersburg in 2006.NEWS,weblink Transcript: Bush and Blair's unguarded chat, BBC News, 18 July 2006, 20 April 2010, . In common with many news organisations the BBC transcribed Bush's greeting as "Yo, Blair", but this is a clear mishearing: see Great Political Myths Part 1, BBC Radio 4, 15 July 2007. In September 2019, during a panel discussion on the annual Yalta European Strategy forum, Blair said that the Western Countries should not neglect Ukraine in relations to the Russian Federation._WEB,weblink UK's ex-PM Tony Blair: We can not establish relations with Russia through Ukraine, 15 September 2019, 112 international,

Middle East policy

On 30 January 2003, Blair signed The letter of the eight supporting U.S. policy on Iraq.NEWS, Full text of letter written by eight European leaders,weblink The Irish Times, 30 January 2003, Blair showed a deep feeling for Israel, born in part from his faith.Anthony Seldon, Blair, (London: Free Press, 2005), p. 506. Blair has been a longtime member of the pro-Israel lobby group Labour Friends of Israel.Assaf Uni, "Finance scandal has local community worried", Haaretz, 10 December 2007.In 1994, Blair forged close ties with Michael Levy, a leader of the Jewish Leadership Council.NEWS,weblink There was once a jolly bagman, Euan, Ferguson, The Guardian, UK, 19 March 2006, Levy ran the Labour Leader's Office Fund to finance Blair's campaign before the 1997 election and raised £12 million towards Labour's landslide victory, Levy was rewarded with a peerage, and in 2002, Blair appointed Lord Levy as his personal envoy to the Middle East. Levy praised Blair for his "solid and committed support of the State of Israel".NEWS,weblink Lord Cashpoint's touch of money magic, 19 March 2006, Wavell, Stuart, The Sunday Times, UK, 21 February 2007, Tam Dalyell, while Father of the House of Commons, suggested in 2003 that Blair's foreign policy decisions were unduly influenced by a "cabal" of Jewish advisers, including Levy, Peter Mandelson and Jack Straw (the last two are not Jewish but have some Jewish ancestry).NEWS,weblink Dalyell's 'Jewish cabal' remarks denied, BBC, 4 May 2003, 13 January 2014, London, UK, Blair, on coming to office, had been "cool towards the right-wing Netanyahu government".Seldon, Blair, p. 506. During his first visit to Israel, Blair thought the Israelis bugged him in his car.WEB,weblink London, UK, The Guardian, Nicholas, Watt, Britain believes Israeli PM Netanyahu is an 'armour-plated bullshitter' â€“ Alastair Campbell, 20 January 2011, After the election in 1999 of Ehud Barak, with whom Blair forged a close relationship, he became much more sympathetic to Israel. From 2001, Blair built up a relationship {{clarify|date=February 2016}} with Barak's successor, Ariel Sharon, and responded positively to Arafat, whom he had met thirteen times since becoming prime minister and regarded as essential to future negotiations. In 2004, 50 former diplomats, including ambassadors to Baghdad and Tel Aviv, stated they had "watched with deepening concern" at Britain following the US into war in Iraq in 2003. They criticised Blair's support for the road map for peace which included the retaining of Israeli settlements on the West Bank.Matthew TempestDiplomats attack Blair's Israel policy, The Guardian, 26 April 2004.In 2006 Blair was criticised for his failure to immediately call for a ceasefire in the 2006 Lebanon War. The Observer newspaper claimed that at a cabinet meeting before Blair left for a summit with Bush on 28 July 2006, a significant number of ministers pressured Blair to publicly criticise Israel over the scale of deaths and destruction in Lebanon.Cabinet in open revolt over Blair's Israel policy, The Observer, 30 July 2006. Blair was criticised for his solid stance alongside US President George W. Bush on Middle East policy.Peter Watt, WEB,weblink The 'Complex' Issue of 'Humanitarian' Intervention, 13 September 2010, bot: unknown,weblink" title="archive.is/20071013150814weblink">weblink 13 October 2007, dmy-all, Zmag.org, 6 August 2006.

Syria and Libya

A Freedom of Information request by The Sunday Times in 2012 revealed that Blair's government considered knighting Syria's President Bashar al-Assad. The documents showed Blair was willing to appear alongside Assad at a joint press conference even though the Syrians would probably have settled for a farewell handshake for the cameras; British officials sought to manipulate the media to portray Assad in a favourable light; and Blair's aides tried to help Assad's "photogenic" wife boost her profile. The newspaper noted:}}Blair had been on friendly terms with Colonel Gaddafi, the leader of Libya, when sanctions imposed on the country were lifted by the US and the UK.NEWS, Blair hails new Libyan relations,weblink BBC News, 25 March 2004, 5 July 2012, NEWS, Freeman, Colin, Mendick, Robert, 17 September 2011, Libya: Tony Blair and Col Gaddafi's secret meetings,weblink The Daily Telegraph, 5 July 2012, London, UK, Even after the Libyan Civil War in 2011, he said he had no regrets about his close relationship with the late Libyan leader.NEWS, Croft, Adrian, 9 September 2011, UK's Blair: No regrets about befriending Gaddafi,weblink Reuters, 5 July 2012, During Blair's premiership, MI6 rendered Abdelhakim Belhadj to the Gaddafi regime in 2004, though Blair later claimed he had "no recollection" of the incident.NEWS, Norton-Taylor, Richard, 11 April 2012, Blair 'cannot recall' MI6 rendition of rebel Libyan to Gaddafi,weblink The Guardian, 5 July 2012, London, UK,

Zimbabwe

Blair had an antagonistic relationship with Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and allegedly planned regime change against Mugabe in the early 2000s.NEWS, Smith, David, Tony Blair plotted military intervention in Zimbabwe, claims Thabo Mbeki,weblink The Guardian, 27 November 2013, Zimbabwe had embarked on a program of uncompensated land redistribution from the country's white commercial farmers to the black population, a policy that disrupted agricultural production and threw Zimbabwe's economy into chaos. General Charles Guthrie, the Chief of the Defence Staff, revealed in 2007 that he and Blair had discussed the invasion of Zimbabwe.NEWS, Lord Guthrie: 'Tony's General' turns defence into an attack,weblink The Independent, 11 November 2007, Guthrie advised against military action: "Hold hard, you'll make it worse." In 2013, South African President Thabo Mbeki said that Blair had pressured South Africa to join in a "regime change scheme, even to the point of using military force" in Zimbabwe. Mbeki refused because he felt that "Mugabe is part of the solution to this problem." However, a spokesman for Blair said that "he never asked anyone to plan or take part in any such military intervention."

Relationship with media

Rupert Murdoch

Blair was reported by The Guardian in 2006 to have been supported politically by Rupert Murdoch, the founder of the News Corporation organisation.Gaby Hinsliff, "The PM, the mogul and the secret agenda", The Observer, 23 July 2006 In 2011, Blair became Godfather to one of Rupert Murdoch's children with Wendi Deng,NEWS,weblink BBC News, Tony Blair 'godfather to Rupert Murdoch's daughter', 5 September 2011, but he and Murdoch later ended their friendship, in 2014, after Murdoch suspected him of having an affair with Deng while they were still married, according to The Economist magazine."Life after power: The loneliness of Tony Blair", The Economist.NEWS,weblink Tony Blair loses cool after Economist grills him on rumours alleging Wendi Deng affair, Ella Alexander, 19 December 2014, The Independent, WEB,weblink Read Wendi Deng Murdoch's Mash Note Allegedly About Tony Blair: "He Has Such Good Body", Mark Seal, Vanity Fair, {{better source|date=January 2016|reason=as per WP:Public figures, multiple sources are needed for content of this kind}}

Contacts with UK media proprietors

A Cabinet Office freedom of information response, released the day after Blair handed over power to Gordon Brown, documents Blair having various official phone calls and meetings with Rupert Murdoch of News Corporation and Richard Desmond of Northern and Shell Media.NEWS, Blair and Murdoch spoke days before Iraq war, 19 July 2007,weblink The Guardian, UK, 26 December 2007, The response includes contacts "clearly of an official nature" in the specified period, but excludes contacts "not clearly of an official nature."NEWS, Kim, Fletcher, The meetings that matter between Murdoch and Blair, 10 July 2006,weblink The Guardian, UK, 26 December 2007, No details were given of the subjects discussed. In the period between September 2002 and April 2005, Blair and Murdoch are documented speaking 6 times; three times in the 9 days before the Iraq War, including the eve of 20 March US and UK invasion, and on 29 January 25 April and 3 October 2004. Between January 2003 and February 2004, Blair had three meetings with Richard Desmond; on 29 January and 3 September 2003 and 23 February 2004.NEWS, When Murdoch met Blair â€“ information released,weblink Bindmans, 26 December 2007, The information was disclosed after a three and a half-year battle by the Liberal Democrats' Lord Avebury. Lord Avebury's initial October 2003 information request was dismissed by then leader of the Lords, Baroness Amos. A following complaint was rejected, with Downing Street claiming the information compromised free and frank discussions, while Cabinet Office claimed releasing the timing of the PM's contacts with individuals is undesirable, as it might lead to the content of the discussions being disclosed. While awaiting a following appeal from Lord Avebury, the cabinet office announced that it would release the information. Lord Avebury said: "The public can now scrutinise the timing of his (Murdoch's) contacts with the former Prime Minister, to see whether they can be linked to events in the outside world."Blair appeared before the Leveson Inquiry on Monday 28 May 2012.NEWS, Tony Blair to appear before Leveson Inquiry,weblink BBC, 25 May 2012, 25 May 2012, During his appearance, a protester, later named as David Lawley-Wakelin, got into the court-room and claimed he was guilty of war crimes before being dragged out.NEWS,weblink London, UK, The Guardian, Peter, Walker, Esther, Addley, Lisa, O'Carroll, Tony Blair accused of war crimes by protester at Leveson inquiry, 28 May 2012,

Media portrayal

Blair has been noted as a charismatic, articulate speaker with an informal style. Film and theatre director Richard Eyre opined that "Blair had a very considerable skill as a performer".NEWS, Eyre, Richard, The film and theatre director gives his verdict on Tony Blair's memoir,weblink 2 May 2013, The Guardian, 5 September 2010, A few months after becoming Prime Minister Blair gave a tribute to Diana, Princess of Wales, on the morning of her death in August 1997, in which he famously described her as "the People's Princess".NEWS, Buerkle, Tom,weblink Charles Takes Diana's Body Home From Paris â€“ World Mourns the 'People's Princess', The New York Times, 1 September 1997, 20 July 2010, NEWS,weblink Tony coined the 'people's princess', The Daily Telegraph, 9 July 2007, 20 July 2010, London, UK, After taking office in 1997, Blair gave particular prominence to his press secretary, who became known as the Prime Minister's Official Spokesman (the two roles have since been separated). Blair's first PMOS was Alastair Campbell, who served in that role from May 1997 to 8 June 2001, after which he served as the Prime Minister's Director of Communications and Strategy until his resignation on 29 August 2003 in the aftermath of the Hutton Inquiry.WEB, About Alastair Campbell,weblink Alastair Campbell.org, 2 May 2013, Blair had close relationships with the Clinton family. The strong partnership with Bill Clinton was made into the film "The Special Relationship" in 2010.Blair and Clinton: The HBO Movie, The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 4 September 2015.

Relationship with Labour Party

Blair's apparent refusal to set a date for his departure was criticised by the British press and Members of Parliament. It has been reported that a number of cabinet ministers believed that Blair's timely departure from office would be required to be able to win a fourth election. Some ministers viewed Blair's announcement of policy initiatives in September 2006 as an attempt to draw attention away from these issues.NEWS, 'Deluded': Extraordinary attack on Blair by Cabinet, 4 September 2006, The Independent, UK,weblink Francis, Elliott, 25 May 2010, dead,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20080521155231weblink">weblink 21 May 2008, dmy-all,

Gordon Brown

{{See also|Blair–Brown deal}}File:Gordon Brown smiles.jpg|thumb|upright|Gordon BrownGordon BrownAfter the death of John Smith in 1994, Blair and his close colleague Gordon Brown (they shared an office at the House of Commons) were both seen as possible candidates for the party leadership. They agreed not to stand against each other, it is said, as part of a supposed Blair–Brown pact. Brown, who considered himself the senior of the two, understood that Blair would give way to him: opinion polls soon indicated, however, that Blair appeared to enjoy greater support among voters.A MORI opinion poll published in The Sunday Times on 15 May found that, among the general public, Blair had the support of 32%, John Prescott 19%, Margaret Beckett 14%, Gordon Brown 9% and Robin Cook 5%. Their relationship in power became so turbulent that (it was reported) the deputy prime minister, John Prescott, often had to act as "marriage guidance counsellor".NEWS,weblink A marriage on the rocks, Andrew Rawnsley, Andrew, Rawnsley, The Observer, UK, Guardian Newspapers Ltd., 5 October 2003, 5 March 2007, During the 2010 election campaign Blair publicly endorsed Gordon Brown's leadership, praising the way he had handled the financial crisis.Tony Blair throws himself into election campaign with praise for Gordon Brown and harsh words for Tories", The Guardian, 30 March 2010.

Post-premiership (since 2007)

Diplomacy

On 27 June 2007, Blair officially resigned as Prime Minister after ten years in office, and he was officially confirmed as Middle East envoy for the United Nations, European Union, United States, and Russia.NEWS, Blair becomes Middle East envoy, BBC News,weblink 27 June 2007, 27 June 2007, Blair originally indicated that he would retain his parliamentary seat after his resignation as Prime Minister came into effect; however, on being confirmed for the Middle East role he resigned from the Commons by taking up an office of profit. President George W. Bush had preliminary talks with Blair to ask him to take up the envoy role. White House sources stated that "both Israel and the Palestinians had signed up to the proposal".NEWS, US 'wants Blair' for Mid-East job,weblink BBC News, 21 June 2007, NEWS, US approves of Blair as possible Middle East envoy, Matthew, Tempest, Mark, Tran, 20 June 2007, The Guardian,weblink London, In May 2008 Blair announced a new plan for peace and for Palestinian rights, based heavily on the ideas of the Peace Valley plan."Israel may ease grip in Tony Blair deal to revive West Bank", The Times, 14 May 2008. Blair resigned as envoy in May 2015.

Private sector

In January 2008, it was confirmed that Blair would be joining investment bank JPMorgan Chase in a "senior advisory capacity"NEWS,weblink Tony Blair joins investment bank, BBC News, 10 January 2008, 10 January 2008, and that he would advise Zurich Financial Services on climate change. His salary for this work is unknown, although it has been claimed it may be in excess of £500,000 per year. Blair also gives lectures, earning up to US$250,000 for a 90-minute speech, and in 2008 he was said to be the highest paid speaker in the world.Lectures see Tony Blair earnings jump over £12m, The Times, 29 October 2008.Blair taught a course on issues of faith and globalisation at the Yale University Schools of Management and Divinity as a Howland distinguished fellow during the 2008–09 academic year. In July 2009, this accomplishment was followed by the launching of the Faith and Globalisation Initiative with Yale University in the US, Durham University in the UK, and the National University of Singapore in Asia, to deliver a postgraduate programme in partnership with the Foundation.NEWS, Tony Blair launches Faith and Globalisation programme at Durham University,weblink 13 July 2009, Blair's links with, and receipt of an undisclosed sum from, UI Energy Corporation, have also been subject to media comment in the UK.NEWS,weblink Tony Blair got cash for deal with South Korean oil firm, Solomon, Hughes, David, Leigh, The Guardian, 17 March 2010, In July 2010 it was reported that his personal security guards claimed £250,000 a year in expenses from the tax payer, Foreign Secretary William Hague said; "we have to make sure that [Blair's security] is as cost-effective as possible, that it doesn't cost any more to the taxpayer than is absolutely necessary".NEWS,weblink Tony Blair's guards run up £250,000 a year in expenses, The Guardian, UK, Jones, Sam, 4 July 2010, 27 January 2011,

Tony Blair Associates

File:Hashim Thaci - Tony Blair with Declaration of Independence of Kosovo.jpg|thumb|Former rebel leader Hashim Thaçi and Tony Blair with Declaration of Independence of Kosovo ]]Blair established Tony Blair Associates to "allow him to provide, in partnership with others, strategic advice on a commercial and pro bono basis, on political and economic trends and governmental reform"."Tony Blair Inc: a nice little earner", The Sunday Times, 22 February 2009 The profits from the firm go towards supporting Blair's "work on faith, Africa and climate change".NEWS, Nicholas, Watt, How Tony Blair paved way for first visit by serving British PM to Kazakhstan,weblink 7 September 2013, The Guardian, 30 June 2013, Blair has been subject to criticism for potential conflicts of interest between his diplomatic role as a Middle East envoy, and his work with Tony Blair Associates,Tony Blair's Byzantine world of advisers and lucrative deals The Daily Telegraph, 24 September 2011On the desert trail of Tony Blair's millions The Daily Telegraph, 24 September 2011WEB,weblink The Wonderful World of Tony Blair, Channel 4, 29 October 2014, and a number of prominent critics have even called for him to be sacked.NEWS, An appeal to the Quartet on the Middle East to sack Tony Blair,weblink 24 June 2014, The Guardian, 2 July 2014, Blair has used his Quartet Tony Blair Associates works with the Kazakhstan government, advising the regime on judicial, economic and political reforms, but has been subject to criticism after accusations of "whitewashing" the image and human rights record of the regime.NEWS, Kerbaj, Richard, Ungoed-Thomas, Jon, Fortson, Danny, 23 September 2012, Blair in £16m deal with Kazakhs,weblink The Sunday Times, 24 September 2012, Blair responded to such criticism by saying his choice to advise the country is an example of how he can "nudge controversial figures on a progressive path of reform", and has stated that he receives no personal profit from this advisory role.NEWS, Nicholas, Watts, How Tony Blair paved way for first visit by serving British PM to Kazakhstan,weblink 7 September 2013, The Guardian, 30 June 2013, The Kazakhstan foreign minister said that the country was "honoured and privileged" to be receiving advice from Blair.WEB, Nicholas, Watt, 30 June 2013, Kazakhstan praises Cameron and Blair for helping improving country's image,weblink The Guardian, 1 July 2013, NEWS, Steven, Swinford, 30 June 2013, Oil-rich Kazakhstan dictatorship boasts of British support,weblink The Daily Telegraph, 1 July 2013, A letter obtained by The Daily Telegraph in August 2014 revealed Blair had given damage-limitation advice to Nazarbayev after the December 2011 Zhanaozen massacre.NEWS, Mendick, Robert, 24 August 2014, Tony Blair gives Kazakhstan's autocratic president tips on how to defend a massacre,weblink The Daily Telegraph, 24 August 2014, Blair was reported to have accepted a business advisory role with President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt, a situation deemed incompatible with his role as Middle East envoy. Blair described the report as "nonsense".NEWS, Milne, Seumas, Seumas Milne, 2 July 2014, Tony Blair to advise Egypt president Sisi on economic reform,weblink The Guardian, 2 July 2014, NEWS, 3 July 2014, Tony Blair denies he signed on as Egyptian president's adviser,weblink Haaretz, 3 July 2014,

Charity

In November 2007 Blair launched the Tony Blair Sports Foundation, which aims to "increase childhood participation in sports activities, especially in the North East of England, where a larger proportion of children are socially excluded, and to promote overall health and prevent childhood obesity."WEB,weblink Tony Blair Sports Foundation, Tony Blair Sports Foundation, 20 April 2010,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20091126173239weblink">weblink 26 November 2009, dead, dmy-all, On 30 May 2008, Blair launched the Tony Blair Faith Foundation as a vehicle for encouraging different faiths to join together in promoting respect and understanding, as well as working to tackle poverty. Reflecting Blair's own faith but not dedicated to any particular religion, the Foundation aims to "show how faith is a powerful force for good in the modern world". "The Foundation will use its profile and resources to encourage people of faith to work together more closely to tackle global poverty and conflict," says its mission statement.WEB,weblink Tony Blair's Faith Foundation speech, New Statesman, In February 2009 he applied to set up a charity called the Tony Blair Africa Governance Initiative: the application was approved in November 2009.NEWS,weblink The mystery of Tony Blair's finances, Leigh, David, Ian, Griffiths, 1 December 2009, The Guardian, 1 December 2009, London, UK, In October 2012 Blair's foundation hit controversy when it emerged they were taking on unpaid interns.NEWS,weblink Tony Blair comes under fire for hiring unpaid interns, 12 July 2011, The Daily Telegraph, 29 October 2014, Ensor, Josie,

Non-profits

File:Volodymyr Groysman and Tony Blair in Ukraine - 2018 (MUS7631).jpg|thumb|Blair with Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman in UkraineUkraineIn December 2016, Blair created the Tony Blair Institute to promote global outlooks by governments and organisations.NEWS,weblink Tony Blair announces foundation to tackle Brexit challenges, 1 December 2016, The Independent, 14 December 2017, NEWS,weblink Blair institute 'to give thought leadership', 1 December 2016, BBC News, 14 December 2017,

Memoirs

In March 2010, it was reported that Blair's memoirs, titled The Journey, would be published in September 2010.{{"'}}Frank' Blair memoirs out in September" {{webarchive|url=https://web.archive.org/web/20100310053039weblink |date=10 March 2010 }}, TheBookseller.com, 4 March 2010. Retrieved 4 March 2010. In July 2010 it was announced the memoirs would be retitled A Journey.Robert Booth, "Tony Blair's memoirs title change strikes a less 'messianic' tone", The Guardian 12 July 2010. The memoirs were seen by many as controversial and a further attempt to profit from his office and from acts related to overseas wars that were widely seen as wrong,NEWS,weblink London, UK, The Daily Telegraph, Rosa, Prince, Caroline, Gammell, Martin, Evans, Questions over size of Tony Blair's book royalty donation to Royal British Legion, 16 August 2010, NEWS, Tony Blair's Journey memoirs' £5m fee provokes 'cashing in' claims,weblink 8 May 2013, Metro (British newspaper), Metro, 5 March 2010, leading to anger and suspicion prior to launch.On 16 August 2010 it was announced that Blair would give the £4.6 million advance and all royalties from his memoirs to the Royal British Legion – the charity's largest ever single donation.NEWS,weblink The Australian, Philip, Webster, Suzy, Jagger, Sam, Coates, Valentine, Low, Tony Blair tries to turn page with £5m donation from sale of memoirs to Royal British Legion, 17 August 2010, NEWS,weblink Tony Blair donates book cash to injured soldier charity, BBC News, 16 August 2010, 16 August 2010, Media analysis of the sudden announcement was wide-ranging, describing it as an act of "desperation" to obtain a better launch reception of a humiliating "publishing flop" that had languished in the ratings, "blood money" for the lives lost in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, an act with a "hidden motive" or an expression of "guilt", a "genius move" to address the problem that "Tony Blair ha[d] one of the most toxic brands around" from a PR perspective, and a "cynical stunt to wipe the slate", but also as an attempt to make amends.NEWS,weblink London, UK, The Daily Telegraph, Tony Blair's memoirs: The making of a best-seller, 22 August 2010, Friends had said that the act was partly motivated by the wish to "repair his reputation".The book was published on 1 September and within hours of its launch had become the fastest-selling autobiography of all time.NEWS,weblink Blair's memoirs: From No10 to No1, The Independent, Independent Newspapers Ltd, London, Andrew, Grice, 2 September 2010, 3 September 2010, On 3 September Blair gave his first live interview since publication on The Late Late Show in Ireland, with protesters lying in wait there for him."Tony Blair interview greeted by Iraq war protesters and Jedward fans", The Guardian, 4 September 2010. On 4 September Blair was confronted by 200 anti-war and hardline Irish nationalist demonstrators before the first book signing of his memoirs at Eason's bookstore on O'Connell Street in Dublin, with angry activists chanting "war criminal" and that he had "blood on his hands", and clashing with Irish Police (Garda Síochána) as they tried to break through a security cordon outside the Eason's store. Blair was pelted with eggs and shoes, and encountered an attempted citizen's arrest for war crimes.Shoes and eggs thrown at Tony Blair as he attends book signing, The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 23 January 2016.

Accusations of war crimes

Since the Iraq War, Blair has been the subject of war crimes accusations. Critics of his actions, including Bishop Desmond Tutu,WEB,weblink Tony Blair should face trial over Iraq war, says Desmond Tutu, Toby, Helm, The Observer, 2 September 2012, 3 September 2012, Harold PinterNEWS,weblink Pinter demands war crimes trial for Blair, 7 December 2005, BBC News, 3 September 2012, and Arundhati RoyWEB,weblink Writer says Bush, Blair war criminals, 3 November 2004, The Age, 3 September 2012, have called for his trial at the International Criminal Court.In November 2011, a war crimes tribunal of the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission, established by Malaysia's former and current Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, reached a unanimous conclusion that Blair and George W. Bush are guilty of crimes against peace, crimes against humanity, and genocide as a result of their roles in the 2003 Iraq War. The proceedings lasted for four days, and consisted of five judges of judicial and academic backgrounds, a tribunal-appointed defence team in lieu of the defendants or representatives, and a prosecution team including international law professor Francis Boyle.Richard Falk,Kuala Lumpur tribunal: Bush and Blair guilty, Al Jazeera, 20 November 2011.In September 2012, Desmond Tutu suggested that Blair should follow the path of former African leaders who had been brought before the International Criminal Court in The Hague. The human rights lawyer Geoffrey Bindman, interviewed on BBC radio, concurred with Tutu's suggestion that there should be a war crimes trial.NEWS,weblink Desmond Tutu calls for Blair and Bush to be tried over Iraq, BBC News, 2 September 2012, 3 September 2012, In a statement made in response to Tutu's comments, Blair defended his actions. He was supported by Lord Falconer, who stated that the war had been authorised by United Nations Security Council Resolution 1441.File:MSC 2014 Blair Kissinger Kleinschmidt MSC2014.jpg|thumb|Blair and Henry Kissinger at the Munich Security ConferenceMunich Security ConferenceIn July 2017, former Iraqi general Abdulwaheed al-Rabbat launched a case, in the High Court in London, calling for Tony Blair, former foreign secretary Jack Straw and former attorney general Lord Goldsmith to be prosecuted for "the crime of aggression". No such crime exists in England and Wales and the case was therefore dismissed.NEWS, Bowcott, Owen, Tony Blair should be prosecuted over Iraq war, high court hears,weblink 31 July 2017, The Guardian, 5 July 2017, NEWS,weblink Iraq War: Bid to prosecute Tony Blair rejected by High Court, 31 July 2017, BBC News,

Response to the Iraq Inquiry

{{Further|Findings of the Iraq Inquiry}}The Chilcot report after the conclusion of the Iraq Inquiry was issued on 6 July 2016 and it criticised Blair for joining the US in the war in Iraq in 2003. Afterwards, Blair issued a statement and held a two-hour press conference to apologise and to justify the decisions he had made in 2003 "in good faith" and denying allegations that the war had led to a significant increase in terrorism.NEWS, Mason, Rowena, 6 July 2016, Tony Blair: 'I express more sorrow, regret and apology than you can ever believe',weblink The Guardian, London, UK, 7 July 2016, He acknowledged that the report made "real and material criticisms of preparation, planning, process and of the relationship with the United States" but cited sections of the report that he said "should lay to rest allegations of bad faith, lies or deceit". He stated: "whether people agree or disagree with my decision to take military action against Saddam Hussein; I took it in good faith and in what I believed to be the best interests of the country. ... I will take full responsibility for any mistakes without exception or excuse. I will at the same time say why, nonetheless, I believe that it was better to remove Saddam Hussein and why I do not believe this is the cause of the terrorism we see today whether in the Middle East or elsewhere in the world".Chilcot report: Tony Blair claims findings show he did not lie over Iraq War, The Independent (6 July 2016).Statement from Tony Blair on Chilcot Report {{webarchive|url=https://web.archive.org/web/20160706182456weblink |date=6 July 2016 }}, Office of Tony Blair (6 July 2016).File:Secretary Pompeo Meets With Former United Kingdom Prime Minister Blair (48307371432).jpg|thumb|Blair with U.S. Secretary of State Mike PompeoMike Pompeo

Iran–West tensions

{{See also|Iran–United States relations|Iran–Saudi Arabia proxy conflict}}Blair wrote in an op-ed published byThe Washington Post on 8 February 2019: "Where Iran is exercising military interference, it should be strongly pushed back. Where it is seeking influence, it should be countered. Where its proxies operate, it should be held responsible. Where its networks exist, they should be disrupted. Where its leaders are saying what is unacceptable, they should be exposed. Where the Iranian people — highly educated and connected, despite their government — are protesting for freedom, they should be supported."NEWS, Tony, Blair, Don't make the mistake of dismissing Iran's ideology,weblink The Washington Post, 8 February 2019, The Tony Blair Institute for Global Change warned of growing Iranian threat.NEWS, Tony Blair Institute: West has not learned lessons of Iran,weblink The National, 11 February 2019, The Tony Blair Institute confirmed that it has received donations from the U.S. State Department and Saudi Arabia.NEWS, Tony Blair Institute confirms donations from Saudi Arabia,weblink Financial Times, 5 September 2018, NEWS, Tony Blair is advising the Saudi government under a £9 million deal between the country and his 'institute',weblink The Daily Telegraph, 21 July 2018,

Europe

Blair does not want the UK to leave the EU. Blair has called for a second referendum if Parliament cannot decide on the Brexit terms. Blair also maintains, once the terms deciding how the UK leaves the EU are known the people should vote again on those terms. Blair stated, “We know the options for Brexit. Parliament will have to decide on one of them. If Parliament can’t then it should decide to go back to the people.”Tony Blair: Britain and EU should prepare for second Brexit referendum

Personal life

Family

File:Tony Blair in the Amber Room.jpg|right|thumb|Blair with wife, Cherie Booth, touring the Amber RoomAmber RoomBlair married Cherie Booth, a Roman Catholic, who would later become a Queen's Counsel, on 29 March 1980.WEB,weblink Cherie celebrates her 30th Wedding Anniversary this spring, Cherie Blair, 4 November 2010, They have four children: Euan, Nicholas, Kathryn, and Leo.CNN.com Facts: Life and times of Tony Blair Leo, delivered by the Royal Surgeon/Gynaecologist Marcus Setchell, was the first legitimate child born to a serving Prime Minister in over 150 years – since Francis Russell was born to Lord John Russell on 11 July 1849.NEWS,weblink Welcome distraction for Tony Blair, BBC News, 20 May 2000, 13 July 2010, All four children have Irish passports, by virtue of Blair's mother, Hazel Elizabeth Rosaleen Corscaden (1923–1975).NEWS,weblink Names that mean trouble, Melanie Mcdonagh, Sunday Times, London, 13 September 2009,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20110728111942weblink">weblink 28 July 2011, dead, dmy-all, The family's primary residence is in Connaught Square; the Blairs own eight residences in total.NEWS,weblink Euan Blair's mother, not his wife, is partner in marital home, Gordon, Rayner, The Daily Telegraph, 7 February 2014, 14 February 2014, His first grandchild (a girl) was born in October 2016.NEWS, Blair, Cherie, Cherie Blair, Equality between men and women is still 170 years away,weblink The Independent, 28 October 2016, 27 October 2016, Last week Tony and I were delighted to welcome our first grandchild into the family.,

Wealth

Blair's financial assets are structured in a complicated manner, and as such estimates of their extent vary widely.Robert Mendick, "Blair Inc: How Tony Blair makes his fortune" Robert Mendick, The Daily Telegraph, 7 January 2012. Retrieved 27 November 2014. These include figures of up to £100 million; Blair has stated he is worth less than a "fifth of that"."Tony Blair: I'm worth less than £20 million, and I'm not interested in making money", The Daily Telegraph, 21 July 2014. Retrieved 26 November 2014. A 2015 assertion, by Francis Beckett, David Hencke and Nick Kochan, concluded that Blair had acquired $90 million and a property portfolio worth $37.5 million in the eight years since he had left office.New book reveals how MidEast helped Tony Blair earn $90m, Arabian Business. Retrieved 19 January 2016.

Religious faith

In an interview with Michael Parkinson broadcast on ITV1 on 4 March 2006, Blair referred to the role of his Christian faith in his decision to go to war in Iraq, stating that he had prayed about the issue, and saying that God would judge him for his decision: "I think if you have faith about these things, you realise that judgement is made by other people ... and if you believe in God, it's made by God as well."NEWS, Blair 'prayed to God' over Iraq,weblink BBC News, 3 March 2006, 18 November 2006, According to Press Secretary Alastair Campbell's diary, Blair often read the Bible before taking any important decisions. He states that Blair had a "wobble" and considered changing his mind on the eve of the bombing of Iraq in 1998.Alastair Campbell diaries: How Blair's Bible reading prompted Iraq 'wobble', The Guardian, 14 January 2011.A longer exploration of his faith can be found in an interview with Third Way Magazine. There he says that "I was brought up as [a Christian], but I was not in any real sense a practising one until I went to Oxford. There was an Australian priest at the same college as me who got me interested again. In a sense, it was a rediscovery of religion as something living, that was about the world around me rather than some sort of special one-to-one relationship with a remote Being on high. Suddenly I began to see its social relevance. I began to make sense of the world".WEB,weblinkweblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20070927142102weblink">weblink 27 September 2007, Practising for Power: Tony Blair, Roy, McCloughry, Third Way Magazine: the modern world through Christian eyes, 14 September 1993, 22 November 2007, Since 1993, Third Way has been talking in depth to men and women who help to shape our society or set the tone of our culture. We spoke to Tony Blair on 14 September 1993, before the spin doctors closed around him, when he was still shadow Home Secretary and had a full head of hair., At one point Alastair Campbell intervened in an interview, preventing the Prime Minister from answering a question about his Christianity, explaining, "We don't do God."NEWS,weblink Campbell interrupted Blair as he spoke of his faith: 'We don't do God', Colin, Brown, The Daily Telegraph, UK, 3 May 2003, 28 February 2009, Campbell later explained that he had intervened only to end the interview because the journalist had been taking an excessive time, and that the comment had just been a throwaway line.NEWS,weblink The Catherine Deveney Interview: Alastair Campbell: Most people don't know me, Scotland on Sunday, 9 November 2008, Cherie Blair's friend and "spiritual guru" Carole Caplin is credited with introducing her and her husband to various New Age symbols and beliefs, including "magic pendants" known as "BioElectric Shields"."Ev'rybody must get stones", The Observer, 8 December 2002 The most controversial of the Blairs' New Age practices occurred when on holiday in Mexico. The couple, wearing only bathing costumes, took part in a rebirthing procedure, which involved smearing mud and fruit over each other's bodies while sitting in a steam bath.How Mumbo-Jumbo Conquered the World, Francis Wheen, Harper Perennial 2004; {{ISBN|0-00-714097-5}}Later on, Blair questioned the Pope's attitude towards homosexuality, arguing that religious leaders must start "rethinking" the issue.NEWS,weblink Blair questions Papal gay policy, BBC News, 8 April 2009, 20 April 2010, Blair was reprimanded by Cardinal Basil Hume in 1996 for receiving Holy Communion at Mass, while still an Anglican, in contravention of canon law.NEWS,weblink Blair doesn't need intermediaries to communicate with God. So why does he want to become a Catholic?, Alexander, Chancellor, The Guardian, 18 May 2007, 22 November 2007, London, UK, On 22 December 2007, it was disclosed that Blair had joined the Roman Catholic Church. The move was described as "a private matter".NEWS,weblink Tony Blair joins Catholic faith, BBC News, 22 December 2007, 22 November 2007, NEWS,weblink Blair Converts To Catholicism, Sky News, 22 December 2007, 22 November 2007, dead,weblink 28 June 2009, dmy-all, He had informed Pope Benedict XVI on 23 June 2007 that he wanted to become a Catholic. The Pope and his advisors criticised some of Blair's political actions, but followed up with a reportedly unprecedented red-carpet welcome, which included the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster, Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, who would be responsible for Blair's Catholic instruction.NEWS,weblink Blair will be welcomed into Catholic fold via his 'baptism of desire', Ruth, Gledhill, Jeremy, Austin, Philip, Webster, The Times, UK, 17 May 2007, 22 November 2007, In 2010, The Tablet named him as one of Britain's most influential Roman Catholics.WEB, 100 Top Catholics,weblink The Tablet, 11 September 2010, 9 May 2013, dead,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20160313083725weblink">weblink 13 March 2016, dmy-all,

Extramarital affair allegations

In 2014, Vanity Fair and The Economist published allegations that Blair had had an extramarital affair with Wendi Deng, who was then married to Rupert Murdoch.NEWS,weblink The loneliness of Tony Blair, 17 December 2014, The Economist, Blair categorically denied the allegations.

Portrayals and cameo appearances

Appearances

Blair made an animated cameo appearance as himself in The Simpsons episode, "The Regina Monologues" (2003).WEB,weblink The Regina Monologues, 8 April 2007, TheSimpsons.com,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20070320093219weblink">weblink 20 March 2007, He has also appeared as himself at the end of the first episode of The Amazing Mrs Pritchard, a British television series about an unknown housewife becoming Prime Minister. On 14 March 2007, Blair appeared as a celebrity judge on Masterchef Goes Large after contestants had to prepare a three-course meal in the Downing Street kitchens for Blair and Bertie Ahern."Masterchef Addict's blog" {{webarchive|url=https://web.archive.org/web/20080929214333weblink |date=29 September 2008 }}, The Stage, 15 March 2007. On 16 March 2007, Blair featured in a comedy sketch with Catherine Tate, who appeared in the guise of her character Lauren Cooper from The Catherine Tate Show. The sketch was made for the BBC Red Nose Day fundraising programme of 2007. During the sketch, Blair used Lauren's catchphrase "Am I bovvered?"NEWS,weblinkweblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20080111011426weblink">weblink 11 January 2008, Catherine Tate hails Blair's comic skills, The Telegraph, 4 June 2007, 22 March 2007, London, UK, dead, dmy-all,

Portrayals

{{BLP unsourced section|date=January 2016}}Michael Sheen has portrayed Blair three times, in the films The Deal (2003), The Queen (2006), and The Special Relationship (2009). Robert Lindsay portrayed Blair in the TV programme A Very Social Secretary (2005), and reprised the role in The Trial of Tony Blair (2007). He was also portrayed by James Larkin in The Government Inspector (2005), and by Ioan Gruffudd in W. (2008). In the 2006 Channel 4 comedy drama documentary, Tony Blair: Rock Star, he was portrayed by Christian Brassington.

Blair in fiction and satire

When Blair resigned as Prime Minister, Robert Harris, a former Fleet Street political editor, dropped his other work to write The Ghost. The CIA-influenced British prime minister in the book is said to be a thinly disguised version of Blair."This one's for you, Tony", The Observer, 30 September 2007. The novel was filmed as The Ghost Writer with Pierce Brosnan portraying the Blair character, Adam Lang. Stephen Mangan portrays Blair in The Hunt for Tony Blair (2011), a one-off The Comic Strip Presents... satire presented in the style of a 1950s film noir. In the film, he is wrongly implicated in the deaths of Robin Cook and John Smith and on the run from Inspector Hutton.NEWS,weblink Comic Strip returns with Tony Blair on the run in Channel 4 film noir comedy, John, Plunkett, The Guardian, 26 August 2011, 5 September 2011, London, In 2007, the scenario of a possible war crimes trial for the former British prime minister was satirised by the British broadcaster Channel 4, in a "mockumentary", The Trial of Tony Blair, with concluded with the fictional Blair being dispatched to the Hague.WEB,weblink The Trial of Tony Blair, Variety, 14 June 2007, 3 September 2012,

Titles and honours

Styles of address

  • 1953–1983: Mr Anthony Charles Lynton Blair
  • 1983–1994: Mr Anthony Charles Lynton Blair {{post-nominals|country=GBR|MP}}
  • 1994–2007: The Rt Hon Anthony Charles Lynton Blair {{post-nominals|country=GBR|MP}}
  • 2007–present: The Rt Hon Anthony Charles Lynton Blair

Appointments

Honours

File:Blair MOF.jpg|thumb|right|Blair is presented with the Presidential Medal of FreedomPresidential Medal of FreedomFile:Tony Blair in Kosovo with children named after him2.jpg|thumb|right|Blair in KosovoKosovo In May 2007, before his resignation, it was speculated that Blair would be offered a knighthood in the Order of the Thistle, owing to his Scottish connections (rather than the Order of the Garter, which is usually offered to former Prime Ministers).NEWS,weblinkweblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20080121050131weblink">weblink 21 January 2008, Queen makes Blair an offer that he can refuse, The Daily Telegraph, UK, 13 May 2007, 22 November 2007, dead, dmy-all, Blair reportedly indicated that he did not want the traditional knighthood or peerage bestowed on former prime ministers.NEWS,weblink Tony Blair spurns honours system, The Daily Telegraph, UK, 30 December 2007, 1 September 2010, Melissa, Kite, On 22 May 2008, Blair received an honorary law doctorate from Queen's University Belfast, alongside former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, for distinction in public service and roles in the Northern Ireland peace process.NEWS,weblink Queen's degrees for ex-premiers, BBC News, 22 May 2008, 22 May 2008, On 13 January 2009, Blair was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George W. Bush.NEWS,weblink Blair to get US Medal of Freedom, BBC News, 5 January 2009, 20 April 2010, Bush stated that Blair was given the award "in recognition of exemplary achievement and to convey the utmost esteem of the American people"NEWS, Jo, Adetunji,weblink Bush gives Blair highest US civilian honour, The Guardian, 13 January 2009, 20 April 2010, London, UK, and cited Blair's support for the War on Terror and his role in achieving peace in Northern Ireland as two reasons for justifying his being presented with the award."President Bush awards Tony Blair Presidential Medal of Freedom", The Times, 13 January 2009.On 16 February 2009, Blair was awarded the Dan David Prize by Tel Aviv University for "exceptional leadership and steadfast determination in helping to engineer agreements and forge lasting solutions to areas in conflict". He was awarded the prize in May 2009.WEB,weblink Blair wins Dan David Prize, JTA â€“ Jewish & Israel News, 17 February 2009, 20 April 2010, dead,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20101126112649weblink">weblink 26 November 2010, WEB,weblink Blair's peace-broker prize surreal, say anti-war campaigners, Radio France Internationale, 20 April 2010, On 13 September 2010, Blair was awarded the Liberty Medal at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.NEWS, Tran, Mark, Liberty medal awarded to Tony Blair,weblink 2 May 2013, The Guardian, 14 September 2010, It was presented by former President Bill Clinton, and is awarded annually to men and women of courage and conviction who strive to secure the blessings of liberty to people around the globe.On 8 July 2010, Blair was awarded the Order of Freedom by the President of Kosovo, Fatmir Limaj."Tony Blair awarded Order of Freedom from Fatmir Limaj, President of Kosovo", president-ksgov.net. Retrieved 17 February 2016. As Blair is credited as being instrumental in ending the conflict in Kosovo, some boys born in that country following the war have been given the name Toni or Tonibler.NEWS,weblink Namesakes welcome Tony Blair during Kosovo visit, BBC News, 9 July 2010, 4 January 2012,

Works

  • Blair, Tony (2010). A Journey. Random House; {{ISBN|0-09-192555-X}} OCLC Number 657172683 (London, UK)
  • Blair, Tony (2002). The Courage of Our Convictions. Fabian Society; {{ISBN|0-7163-0603-4}} (London, UK)
  • Blair, Tony (2000). Superpower: Not Superstate? (Federal Trust European Essays). Federal Trust for Education & Research; {{ISBN|1-903403-25-1}} (London, UK)
  • Blair, Tony (1998). The Third Way: New Politics for the New Century. Fabian Society; {{ISBN|0-7163-0588-7}} (London, UK)
  • Blair, Tony (1998). Leading the Way: New Vision for Local Government. Institute for Public Policy Research; {{ISBN|1-86030-075-8}} (London, UK)
  • Blair, Tony (1997). New Britain: My Vision of a Young Country. Basic Books, {{ISBN|0-8133-3338-5}} (New York)
  • Blair, Tony (1995). Let Us Face the Future. Fabian Society, {{ISBN|0-7163-0571-2}} (London, UK)
  • Blair, Tony (1994). What Price a Safe Society?. Fabian Society, {{ISBN|0-7163-0562-3}} (London, UK)
  • Blair, Tony (1994). Socialism. Fabian Society, {{ISBN|0-7163-0565-8}} (London, UK)

See also

Notes

{{Reflist|30em}}

Further reading

  • BOOK, Abse, Leo, Leo Abse, 2001, Tony Blair: The Man Behind the Smile, Robson Books, 1-86105-364-9,
  • BOOK, Beckett, F., Hencke, D., 2004, The Blairs and Their Court, Aurum Press, 1-84513-024-3,weblink
  • BOOK, 2003, Tony Blair: The Man Who Lost His Smile, Robson Books, 1-86105-698-2,
  • BOOK, Blair, Tony, Iain Dale, 1998, The Blair Necessities: Tony Blair Book of Quotations, Robson Books, 1-86105-139-5,
  • BOOK, Paul Richards, 2004, Tony Blair: In His Own Words, Politico's Publishing, 1-84275-089-5,
  • BOOK, Gould, Philip, Philip Gould, Baron Gould of Brookwood, 1999, The Unfinished Revolution: How the Modernisers Saved the Labour Party, Abacus, 0-349-11177-4,
  • BOOK, Naughtie, James, James Naughtie, 2001, The Rivals: The Intimate Story of a Political Marriage, Fourth Estate, 1-84115-473-3,
  • BOOK, 2004, The Accidental American: Tony Blair and the Presidency, Macmillan, 1-4050-5001-2,
  • BOOK, Rawnsley, Andrew, Andrew Rawnsley, 2000, Servants of the People: The Inside Story of New Labour, Hamish Hamilton, 0-241-14029-3,
  • BOOK, 2001, Servants of the People: The Inside Story of New Labour, 2nd, Penguin Books, 0-14-027850-8,
  • BOOK, Rentoul, John, 2001, Tony Blair: Prime Minister, Little Brown, 0-316-85496-4,
  • BOOK, Riddell, Peter, Peter Riddell, 2004, The Unfulfilled Prime Minister: Tony Blair and the End of Optimism, Politico's Publishing, 1-84275-113-1,
  • BOOK, Seldon, Anthony, Anthony Seldon, 2004, Blair, Free Press, 0-7432-3211-9,
  • BOOK, Short, Clare, Clare Short, 2004, An Honourable Deception? New Labour, Iraq, and the Misuse of Power, Free Press, 0-7432-6392-8,
  • BOOK, Stephens, Philip, 2004, Tony Blair: The Making of a World Leader, Viking Books, 0-670-03300-6,weblink
  • BOOK, Wheatcroft, Geoffrey, Geoffrey Wheatcroft, 2007, Yo, Blair!, Methuen, 978-1-84275-206-7,
  • WEB,weblink Prime Ministers Question Time, www.parliament.uk, Parliament of the United Kingdom, 27 June 2007, 2 January 2015,

External links

{{Commons and category}}{{Wikisource author}}
  • The Office of Tony Blair – Official website
  • Tony Blair Faith Foundation
  • {{Guardian topic}}
  • {{New York Times topic|people/b/tony_blair}}
  • The Blair Years – Timeline at BBC News
  • {{IMDb name|id=0086363|name=Tony Blair}}
  • {{C-SPAN|tonyblair}}
  • {{NPG name}}
  • {{webarchive |url=https://web.archive.org/web/20070607025723weblink |title=The Prime Minister Tony Charles Lynton Blair |date=7 June 2007}} at www.pm.gov.uk
  • {{UK MP links | hansard = mr-tony-blair | publicwhip = Tony_Blair | theywork = tony_blair | record = | bbc = | journalisted = tony-blair}}
{{Tony Blair|state=expanded}}{{Navboxes||title= Tony Blair navigational boxes|list1={{Prime Ministers of the United Kingdom}}{{Leaders of the Opposition UK}}{{Blair Cabinet}}{{Shadow Home Secretaries}}{{United Kingdom general election, 2005A}}{{UK Labour Party}}{{New Labour}}{{Labour Party leadership election, 1994}}{{Charlemagne Prize recipients}}{{Presidents of the European Council}}{{Quartet on the Middle East}}{{Africa Progress Panel}}{{Commission for Africa}}}}{{Authority control}}

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