Tony Blair is talked out of quitting

July 10, 2004 at 9:33 AM

LONDON, July 10 (UPI) -- British Prime Minister Tony Blair reportedly came close to resigning last month, and might have done so if not for the intervention of four cabinet ministers.

John Reid, Tessa Jowell, Charles Clarke and Patricia Hewitt all urged Blair to stay on and assured him he had wide support, the BBC reported Saturday.

Those appeals were apparently successful.

Among factors possibly contributing to Blair's consideration of stepping down:

--Pressure from supporters of Chancellor Gordon Brown for Blair to hand over the reins of power to Brown.

-- Publication next week of the Butler report into intelligence on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.

-- Possible losses Labor may suffer in key elections next week Birmingham Hodge Hill and Leicester South.

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