There was an emotional welcome for Tony Blair, as he arrived to address his last Labour party conference as British Prime Minister. Blair was forced to say this month he would resign within a year to stem a party revolt, after a succession battle with Finance Minister Gordon Brown. But he was gracious in explaining his decision to go: “In politics, it’s always about the next challenge, the truth is, you can’t go on forever… that’s why it’s right that this is my last conference as leader and of course it’s hard to let go, but it’s also right to let go for the country and for you, the party.”
He paid tribute to Gordon Brown, long seen as his heir apparent: “I know New Labour would never have happened and three elections victories would never have been secured without Gordon Brown.”
He attempted to repair damage caused by reports his wife said Gordon Brown lied, when stating it was a privilege to have worked with Blair, reports she denied. “He’s a remarkable man, a remarkable servant to this country and that is the truth,” said Blair.
Tony Blair told Labour party faithful to focus on beating the opposition Conservative Party at the next election, expected to be in 2009. It is believed he will now focus on what Labour needs to do just that.