May 15, 2005


Blair will stand down by mid 2007 (James Cusick, 5/15/05, Sunday Herald)

Tony Blair has privately assured the Chancellor Gordon Brown that he will not serve a full third term in Downing Street as Prime Minister and will stand down within two years.

Details of the deal, contradicting the Prime Minister’s comments that he will serve out a full term, have been passed on by key allies of Brown to senior members of the government and leading figures in the trade union movement.

Brown is understood to have insisted that any incoming leader would need a minimum of 18 months to two years to establish strong leadership in the party and put in place the political authority needed for a new prime minister to win Labour a fourth consecutive term.

In return for a period of post-election calm and the withdrawal of any coup threat, Blair is understood to have accepted that he will go by mid-2007 at the latest.

The call for peace by the Chancellor follows growing unrest in the rebel ranks of the Parliamentary Labour Party and among some trade union leaders that Blair has not kept his immediate post-election promise that he will “listen and learn”.

Last week, the leader of the Amicus union, Derek Simpson, urged Blair not to cling to power.

Fearing a public coup would damage any future leader who followed Blair, Brown and key advisers have, in the words of one source, “called off the dogs”.

It is, of course, helpful for Mr. Brown to use the remainder of Mr. Blair's term to ram through unpopular reforms that he supports.

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 15, 2005 10:30 AM
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