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Last Updated: Thursday, 3 May 2007, 11:48 GMT 12:48 UK
Students quiz Blair on standing down
Coventry schoolchildren

Students asked Tony Blair what he plans to do when the time comes for him to quit Parliament.

A group of 12 and 13-year-olds, from three schools in Coventry, questioned Mr Blair on a variety of topics as part of School Report News Day on 22 March 2007.

Refusing to be drawn on the details of his plans, Mr Blair said simply: "I've been here 10 years, that's a long time, so I'm sure I'll find something interesting to do."

The students, from Tile Hill Wood, Lyng Hall and Hartshill Technology College, also thought Tony Blair was an approachable and talkative leader.

Patrick said he was "very nervous" when he first went into 10 Downing Street.

"When you walk in you think it's small. But when you get inside, it's massive.

"He was really good. He even talked to the people who weren't meant to be asking questions."

Patrick said he would "probably" have voted for Mr Blair if he had been old enough.

He began by asking Tony Blair about criminals being treated too softly, before moving on to ask how learning could be made less boring.

On crime, Mr Blair explained that really dangerous criminals could be locked up indeterminately.

Mr Blair's solution to the problem of boring education was to put more emphasis on sport in schools, which he said was a "great preparation for life".

'Nice gentleman'

Another pupil, Pardeep, asked Mr Blair about global warming and what he could do to make wind turbines and solar panels cheaper.

"We're going to publish something that will allow people to work out their own carbon output," Mr Blair told the pupils.

Tony Blair
Mr Blair joked about football with the youngsters

He said that the government would also be expanding a scheme to help people with the cost of solar panels.

Pardeep, who described Mr Blair as a "really, really nice gentleman", went on to ask if he thought children were encouraged to grow up too quickly.

Mr Blair said new technology meant children were exposed to a lot of things at a younger age than he had been.

"The internet, computers, the mobile phone, the television is just completely different.

"People are subject to influences these days from a much earlier age but I'm not sure there's a great deal we can do about that."

Pardeep said she was happy with the response, adding: "I could tell that what he was saying was honest and came from his heart, he wasn't avoiding the questions."

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