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Last Updated: Sunday, 28 January 2007, 11:11 GMT
Blair: 'I'm going to finish what I started'.
Tony Blair
I don't think anyone really predicted accurately what would happen in Iraq
Tony Blair

Speaking on the BBC One Politics Show on 28 January, Tony Blair said: "I want to finish what I've started..."

"And at the present time," he insisted, "there are things that I'm right in the middle of doing, whether it's health service reform or the City Academy programme, or the changes that we're making in the Home Office, or this issue to do with energy policy or the international issues you've just been discussing - I'm getting on with the job."

He said he was now hopeful of a deal on world trade, and also pointed to the Northern Ireland peace process as an area on which he hopes to make progress before he leaves office.

He went on to say: "The next few weeks will be as important as the negotiation of the original Good Friday Agreement, and the end of power sharing that happened back in 2002 because we will determine whether we have a basis for the future in Northern Ireland, that allows us both to have power sharing between Unionists and Republicans and Nationalists, really on a solid basis for the first time ever."

Clear direction

The Prime Minister dismissed claims that his party has lost determination and drive.

Anti war placards
The Iraq war is one of the thorns in Tony Blair's side

"¿The one thing you can't say is¿ it's not that the government is not driving forward. I think in many ways actually, the last 18 months has been our most radical, most bold on the domestic agenda."

He also defended his government's handling of the Home Office: "I'm not saying there haven't been big problems at the Home Office.

"But let's be clear - some of these things like foreign prisoners, or these offences that have been committed abroad by British people who've then returned back home... the reason we're dealing with these now is that, for the first time, there is a process in place to deal with them."

On Iraq, when he was asked by Jon Sopel whether he had expected the country to be in such a state when he left office, he said: "I don't think anyone really predicted accurately what would happen in Iraq."

He confirmed that he would definitely be leading his party into the elections in May, although he would not be drawn any further on the timing of his departure.

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Tony Blair on the Politics Show 28th Jan 2007


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