Britain's Prime Minister Tony Blair
announced Thursday he is stepping down as leader of the Labour Party and will
hand over power to a new prime minister June 27. VOA's Sonja Pace reports from
Tony Blair chose the town of Sedgefield, the heart of his constituency in
northeast England, to make his long-awaited announcement.
"Today, I announce my decision to stand down from the leadership of the
Labour Party," he said. "The party will now select a new leader. On the 27th of
June I will tender my resignation
from the office of prime minister to the Queen."
With these words, Mr. Blair began the transition of power. The Labour Party
is expected to select current treasury chief, chancellor of the exchequer,
Gordon Brown, as its new leader, paving the way for him to become prime minister
on June 27.
Speaking to party members in Sedgefield, Mr. Blair said that after a decade
in power it was time to go.
"I've been prime minister of this country for just over 10 years," he added.
"In this job in the world of today, I think that's long enough for me, but more
especially for the country."
Mr. Blair recounted some of his government's successes, including Britain's
booming economy, improvements in health care, employment and social benefits. He
also talked of foreign successes: intervention in the civil conflicts in Kosovo
and Sierra Leone. He spoke of Britain's part in the fight against terrorism, in
toppling the Taleban in Afghanistan and in ousting Saddam Hussein from Iraq,
although acknowledging Britain's involvement in Iraq remains a deeply
Mr. Blair admitted not everyone agrees with the decisions he made over the
past 10 years.
"I did what I thought was right," he said. "I may have been wrong; that's
your call. But, believe one thing if nothing else, I did what I thought was
right for our country."
Mr. Blair acknowledged that not all expectations he had come into office with
had been fulfilled. He said some people might say the expectations were too
high, but he said he would not have wanted it any other
tender :to offer formally（正式提出）