[ 2006-09-06 14:32 ]
front page of British newspaper The Sun is seen September 5, 2006.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair will stay in power for another year,
a close ally said on Tuesday, while a leaked memo detailed plans for a
"farewell tour" that would see Blair take his leave like a "star".
The comments by Environment Secretary David Miliband were widely seen
as having been authorized by the prime minister in an attempt to quell a
growing rebellion by members of his Labour Party who are demanding he give
a timetable for leaving office.
Prime minister for nine years, Blair has said he will not seek a fourth
term and will give his successor - expected to be finance minister Gordon
Brown - ample time to settle in before the next general election, expected
Although some Labour members of parliament were satisfied by the
assurance, many others were not.
A draft letter calling for Blair to set an exit date was reported to be
circulating and to have enough support from Labour legislators to suggest
Blair could face a leadership challenge if he did not heed it.
Blair's office denied having received the letter.
"The conventional wisdom is that the prime minister sees himself
carrying on for about another 12 months," Miliband told BBC radio.
Blair's popularity has plunged after a series of
government scandals over sleaze and mismanagement, as well as controversy
over the Iraq war. Opinion polls put Labour well behind
the opposition Conservatives.
Despite intense pressure, Blair, 53, has refused to say precisely when
he will go.
well behind : 大大落后于