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Last Updated: Friday, 11 May 2007, 05:34 GMT 06:34 UK
Centre stage for Blair farewell
Selection of papers

Tony Blair's announcement he will stand down as prime minister on 27 June naturally dominates Friday's papers.

"I did what I thought was right," says the Guardian headline, quoting from a speech it calls "conciliatory, confessional, almost humble".

"Showman to the final curtain," says the Daily Mail citing "a tear-stained plea for understanding".

The Financial Times says the speech from Trimdon's Labour Club was "the one place he was sure of a warm welcome".

'The legacy'

"The Legacy" says the Independent listing events on its front page from the 10 years of Mr Blair's premiership.

The long list, which includes Princess Diana's death and the signing of the Good Friday Agreement, has "Iraq" written across it in huge, capital letters, it says.

Mr Blair's speech acknowledged the "bitter controversy" over Iraq, says the Sun, but he insisted it was right to "stand shoulder to shoulder" with the US.

The paper adds "the overwhelming majority of people" believe he has served his country well at home and abroad.

Recalling 1997

Ben Macintrye in the Times is among those to reminisce about Mr Blair's arrival at Downing Street in 1997 when "adoring crowds" waved flags on a "crystal morning".

He says as a culture we are now "more sceptical, frightened, violent, cautious, fatter, suspicious, drunker and tolerant" than a decade ago.

The Mirror's Kevin Maguire says Mr Blair exited with "verve and real style", unlike Margaret Thatcher's "tears and tantrums".

Mr Blair's monument is a "more prosperous, fairer and decent country", he writes.

'Logo change'

"The end of New Labour", says the Daily Telegraph, claiming the party set the stage for a new era under Gordon Brown by removing its website's old logo.

It says the "New Labour, New Britain" logo was replaced with plain Labour and a red rose within minutes of Mr Blair's speech.

"As Blair bows out his legacy just gets worse," says the Daily Express, claiming another interest rate rise has caused mortgage misery for millions.

The Guardian says Brown is to launch his bid to be Labour's sixth premier.


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