The British prime minister has admitted it may have been a mistake when he announced 18 months ago he would not be seeking a fourth term in office. Speaking in Australia, Tony Blair, who won power in 1997, said people kept asking him when he was going to go, so he decided to answer them.
That, he said, was maybe a mistake. Later Downing Street said he had meant that it was an error to suppose his answer would kill off speculation about his departure. Outside parliament, where he had been speaking about the need to stand firm on Iraq, he was confronted by dozens of anti-war demonstrators.
He refused to be drawn on how long British troops will remain in the country. Media calls for Blair’s resignation over a so-called “cash-for-favours” scandal have intensified speculation over when his expected successor, Finance Minister Gordon Brown, will take over. Reportedly, Blair has set a date for departure but the details have been kept from even his closest aides.