Tony Blair has left Downing Street for the last time as the UK’s prime minister. After ten and a half years as the country’s leader, Blair, accompanied by his wife went to Buckingham Palace and tendered his resignation.
Earlier at his final half hour question time session in parliament, Blair began in light hearted mood giving a twist to the usual announcement of what was in his daily diary.
“Thank you Mr. Speaker,” Blair said. “Since this is the last time I shall be able to do so , thank you for your gentle courtesy and kind forbearance to me over the years. I have had need of both. And now to my engagements. This morning I have had meetings with ministerial colleagues and others in addition to my duties in the House – I will have no such meetings today or any other day.”
Reflecting the passing of the Blair era, Opposition leader David Cameron put aside the usual hostilities and paid tribute to his political adversary:
“For 13 years he has led his party, for 10 years he has led our country, and no one can be in any doubt about the huge efforts he has made in terms of public service. He has considerable achievements to his credit, whether it’s peace in Northern Ireland, or it is his work in the developing world which, I know, will endure.”
As Blair left the parliamentary lower chamber for the last time as leader he was warmly applauded by the members of his Cabinet, many whom will be wondering if they still have a job under Blair’s heir, Gordon Brown.