Report: PM Tony Blair to resign in May

Sept. 8, 2006 at 11:44 AM
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LONDON, Sept. 8 (UPI) -- British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Gordon Brown reportedly have agreed that Blair will resign May 4 to let Brown take over as Labor party leader in June.

Brown, currently Britain's treasury secretary, is expected to succeed Blair as party leader and take over as prime minister if the party wins the elections.

The Financial Times reports the Blair-Brown understanding came after Blair made a public pledge Thursday to resign within 12 months. His office, however, had no precise date for his resignation.

Brown's allies were quoted as saying there is now a broad understanding that Blair will announce in February plans to step down as party leader on May 4, a day after regional elections in Scotland and Wales which would then allow Brown to take over in mid-June, the report said.

The Times said Blair's latest announcement may further undermine his authority and encourage fresh speculation over whether he can last until next summer. Some of his Labor members of parliament have asked that he quit immediately.

The report said Brown may also have been politically damaged by the latest events because of claims by some that he had orchestrated the moves against Blair. Brown's supporters have denied those claims.

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