Blair will go on June 27

Prime Minister Tony Blair will quit as Labour leader and stand down as Prime Minister on June 27.

Prime Minister Tony Blair will quit as Labour leader and stand down as Prime Minister after a decade in Downing Street on June 27.

He made the announcement in his Sedgefield constituency after informing the Cabinet this morning.

Labour Party members cheered as they waited for the PM to speak. He began by thanking his agent and his wife, Cherie, and his family.

He told them he thought 10 years was long enough, and said the only way to conquer the pull of power was to put it down.

The announcement ends months of speculation about the timetable for his exit from power.

EDP political editor Chris Fisher commented in this morning's paper: “How much longer he will remain the local MP is a moot point, for there are persistent rumours that he will soon quit that post too to concentrate on other things. That would mean an unnecessary by-election. But as the Labour Party considers that, it can take comfort from the amazing result last week in the New Trimdon and Trimdon Grange ward of Sedgefield district council in which Mr Blair has his local residence: Labour 441, BNP 75, Tories 0. Yes, zero for the Conservatives. David Cameron's message is not going down terribly well in Trimdon.”

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As the news came through tributes were already being paid Mr Blair, whose decision is expected to pave the way for Gordon Brown to take over as leader.

Former Labour leader Neil Kinnock said Mr Blair would be remembered above all as a winner. Lord Kinnock said the Prime Minister deserved praise as a "quite extraordinary leader of our country".

He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "The one word that has to be associated with Tony is 'winner', not just of the unprecedented succession of three elections won by the Labour Party with large majorities, but also a winner because of his utter insistence and his endurance in Northern Ireland.

"A winner also in the way in which over 10 years the Government which he has led has produced conditions in which people expect stable affluence. That is unprecedented.'

Lord Kinnock said it was a political "tragedy' that Mr Blair's achievements would be "certainly shadowed, probably in the short term obscured' by the war in Iraq.

"It is one of the major areas of activity of the Blair years that I find most difficult to understand. Not the engagement in war, but the nature of the association with George Bush,' he said.

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