Tony Blair is set to quit office next summer, according to the British media. Blair’s much anticipated retirement has once again made all the headlines in Britain after a leaked memo apparently advised him to conduct a series of upbeat interviews across the media, so that the public would remember a positive image of his time in office. But the leak itself appears to have undermined any positive effect such a campaign might have. Labour MP Nick Raynsford: “His legacy is secure. There is absolutely no need to talk about engineering a feel good factor before his departure. It is actually slightly preposterous.”
Talk of a farewell tour has led pundits to predict he’ll go next summer – though for supporters of leader in waiting Gordon Brown that’s not soon enough. For former cabinet minister Charles Clarke clarity is essential: “I think he should take his decision. I think that’s the… I’ve always myself been of the view that the longer he stays the better, but he has to decide what the circumstances are and to work on that basis.”
Opinion polls put Labour’s popularity at it’s lowest level for 19 years, and party members are eager that a new leader should be given a chance to buck the trend before a general election expected in 2009.