tampabay.com

Toodles, Tony

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published May 10, 2007


Prime Minister Tony Blair will announce his intention to step down as Labor Party leader today, setting the clock ticking on the final weeks of his 10-year rule. Blair's official spokesman said the prime minister would set out his intentions to Cabinet colleagues this morning. In British parliamentary tradition, the leader of the largest party in the House of Commons serves as prime minister. Blair's announcement that he is stepping down as Labor leader will trigger a leadership contest that would see him replaced as party leader, and prime minister, within about seven weeks. Treasury chief Gordon Brown, Blair's longtime friend and rival, is the favorite to succeed him, although two backbench Labor lawmakers also have announced their intention to run. As for Blair's future, at 54, he is six years younger than President Bush. The father of four may hit the lecture circuit after he steps down. An advisory role involving Africa or the European Unions could be in his future. And there is talk that he may set up an interfaith forum, much like the foundation that former President Bill Clinton started.