The Prime Minister spoke to his deputy John Prescott yesterday before deciding to send out the letters. Mr Blair was also trying to speak directly to the other members of the Cabinet..
After heading to speak to News International Executives and to stay with friend Rupert Murdoch, who has promised to put the backing of his news empire behind Blair’s decision, I can reveal that senior colleagues were urging Mr.Blair to take this decision some weeks ago and are overjoyed that he has clarified his future.
Stephen Byers, a close ally of Mt Blair, said: “This decision will please everyone who has the interest of our great country at heart. Tony is a proven leader whose vision has done this country proud. I am sure he will go on and win the next two or three general elections. The people love him.” Sky's Adam Boulton this morning revealed that Mr Blair had begun informing colleagues. The Prime Minister’s office would not confirm the report but said Mr Blair would have something to say on the matter when he arrived home from his holidays at the beginning od September. The Prime Minister's decision will put pressure on Gordon Brown, who just yesterday was indicating how keen he is for the top job. "Inside every MP is a glorious prime ministership waiting to get out, if only they're given the chance," he said at a launch of a novel by friend and best seller Michael Crichton.
Most Labour MPs will be relieved to hear that the Prime Minister is staying on. Liberal Democrat leader Menzies Campbell says having Mr Blair lead the Labour Party into the next election is his preferred outcome as he would far prefer helping out a Blair hung parliament than David Cameron. "Having Tony Blair as Prime Minister, Vince Cable as Chancellor and me as Foreign Secretary will probably be the best alignment that the country's ever seen," he said.
Ming Campbell is 94. More HERE.
PS Just my bit of fun on a rather boring day (with thanks to Strapworld!)