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 Saturday, 20 May, 2000, 11:29 GMT 12:29 UK
Blairs celebrate baby Leo
Cherie and Tony Blair
The Blairs are delighted with the birth of their fourth child
Prime Minister Tony Blair and his wife Cherie are celebrating the birth of their baby son who will be called Leo.

He is the first child to be born to a serving British Prime Minister for more than 150 years and was named after Mr Blair's father.

The Blairs
A brother for Kathryn, 12, Euan,16, and Nicky, 15.
The latest addition to the Blair household arrived at 0025BST and weighed in at 6lbs 12oz, according to Downing Street.

An emotional Mr Blair said he was thrilled at becoming a father again and praised the doctors and midwives who assisted his wife.

He said: "Our baby is fine. He's a gorgeous boy. They are just resting now.

"It was an ordinary, natural birth, though it was quite a long labour so Cherie is quite tired now."

The proud parents and their new baby returned to Downing Street shortly after Leo's birth at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in London.

Media dodged

Mrs Blair, 45, had been admitted to the hospital during Friday lunchtime, five days before her official due date of 24 May.

The prime minister then joined his wife at the hospital at 2050 BST and stayed with her for six hours before they returned to Downing Street with their new son.

Flowers from well-wishers have been arriving at No.10
The couple managed to give the hordes of waiting media the slip by leaving the hospital via a back door.

The couple already have two sons, Euan, 16, and Nicky, 14, and a daughter, Kathryn, 12.

In the past few days, the Blairs have been publicly relaxed about the birth of their fourth child.

On Tuesday, Mrs Blair, a highly respected barrister known professionally as Cherie Booth QC, was still at work in the High Court, challenging her husband's government over parental leave.

The prime minister has said he will not be taking parental leave but intends to scale back his official workload.

Greetings

Congratulations have already started to pour in following the birth.

Mrs Blair's father, the actor Tony Booth, said he was "absolutely thrilled and delighted" at the news that he had a new grandson.

"I know both his parents and brothers and sister are completely besotted with him," he said.

Downing Street
Cameras camp outside Downing Street
The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh have sent Mr and Mrs Blair flowers and best wishes, as have Tory leader William Hague and his wife Ffion.

Mr Hague said: "We send our congratulations to them and their children. We know this is a wonderful day for them, and a happy day for the country as a whole."

Liberal Democrat Leader Charles Kennedy said it was important to give the Blairs some breathing space to enjoy their new arrival.

"The most important thing now is that everyone respects their right to privacy and peace for a decent interval."

Tony Booth: Proud grandfather
Mr Blair's constituency chairman John Burton said they would consider the baby an honorary son of Sedgefield.

"We are waiting for the christening. It will be real exciting times ahead," he told the BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

Former Sports Minister Tony Banks congratulated Mrs Blair on giving birth before Saturday's FA Cup final.

He jokingly told Radio 5 Live: "I must say she is a super woman. She even managed to arranged the birth before kick-off - that's New Labour for you."

  WATCH/LISTEN
  ON THIS STORY
  Tony Blair
"He's a gorgeous little boy"
  The BBC's Carolyn Quinn in Downing Street
"Happy to express his emotion at the event"
  The BBC's Joe Campbell
Those closest to Tony and Cherie have had the most to celebrate
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