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Friday, September 08, 2006

Voters welcome news of Blair exit next year

News that British Prime Minister Tony Blair will quit within a year received a warm welcome on the streets of London today where voters said he had served his purpose.
Blair had served his purpose, they said, hoping that his expected successor, seen most likely as Chancellor Gordon Brown, would not mean more of the same policies.

The prime minister's departure ''is probably best for the Labour Party because they need a change,'' said Martin Fry, 48, a public sector worker. He felt Blair had done a largely good job, likening him to Margaret Thatcher, one of his most illustrious predecessors.

''However, like Thatcher, I think he has come to a point in his political life when he has outlived his usefulness and his purpose,'' Fry said. ''He was the right person at the right time when he came into power but times have changed.'' After two days of high drama over Blair's future, the prime minister said in a televised statement that this month's annual Labour Party conference would be his last as leader.

But he said: ''I'm not going to set a precise date now, I don't think that's right. I will do that at a future date and I'll do it in the interests of the country.'' When Blair finally bows out, he will not be remembered fondly by some voters because of his unpopular decision to take the country to war in Iraq and ally himself closely with US President George W.



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