Tony Blair has confirmed that he will stand down as Labour leader within the year but refused to give an exact date. Speaking at a school in north London, the British prime minister’s announcement follows days of in-party feuding and the resignations of eight members of the government. He apologised for the internal rows, saying the past week had not been Labour’s finest hour. He said: “The next party conference in a couple of weeks will be my last party conference as party leader. The next TUC, next week, will be my last TUC, probably to the relief of both of us. But I’m not going to set a precise date now and I don’t think that’s right. I will do that at a future date and I will do it in the interests of the country and depending on the circumstances of the time.” Eager to heal damaging rifts within Labour, Finance Minister and Blair’s expected successor Gordon Brown said earlier he would support Blair in whatever decision he took about his political future.