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The BBC's Gavin Hewitt
"Cherie Blair said she had forgotten what an ordeal the last few hours of labour could be"
 real 28k

Sunday, 21 May, 2000, 17:21 GMT 18:21 UK
Cherie's joy at baby Leo
Cherie and Tony Blair
The Blairs are "thrilled" with their fourth child
The prime minister's wife Cherie Blair says she is "tired but full of joy" after the birth of her son, Leo.

Making her first public statement since Leo's arrival on Saturday, she admitted: "It is so long since we had our other three children that I had forgotten quite what an ordeal those last few hours of labour can be."

Teddy Blair? Flowers and presents pour in
Mrs Blair paid tribute to staff at the Chelsea and Westminster hospital, where her son was born.

She said: "The midwives were fantastic at helping us through.

"Now that Leo is here, I am very tired but full of joy.

"Tony and the children are a real help and all of us are really touched by the flowers, messages and presents not just from friends and colleagues but, perhaps above all, from people we have never met."

Sleepless night

The prime minister, facing the stark realities of life as the father of a newborn baby, looked tired and drawn after Leo's first full night at Downing Street.

He's absolutely fine - I'm feeling a little tired

Tony Blair
Mr Blair, who took his three older children Euan, 16, Nicky, 14, and Kathryn, 12, to church on Sunday morning, admitted to fellow worshippers: "It definitely wasn't a quiet night."

Clearly thrilled about the latest addition to his family, he chatted happily on the steps of London's Westminster Cathedral after the service and said his baby son was doing well.

Mr Blair said: "He's absolutely fine. I'm feeling a little tired."

The Blairs spent a quiet afternoon together at Downing Street with their new arrival.

A spokesman said the atmosphere was "relaxed and happy", and a group of college students visiting from Nebraska, USA, who were granted a rare tour inside Number 10, reported seeing "lots of cuddly toys" lying around.

Barrister Mrs Blair, 45, gave birth to her fourth child at 12.25am on Saturday after a 12-hour natural labour.

Historic birth

The 6lb 12oz boy, the first child born to a serving Prime Minister for 150 years, was named after Tony Blair's father.

The Prime Minister yesterday gave a brief insight into how life at No 10 was already changing, saying: "The thing is, you forget how tiny they are, and also changing nappies in the middle of the night."

Mr Blair would not be drawn on who he thought his new son looked like, saying: "He's gorgeous, he's a lovely little kid."

As the world's media waited to catch the first glimpse of Leo, flowers, gifts, cards and messages poured into Downing Street from all over the world.

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh sent the couple congratulations and flowers, as did Tory leader William Hague and his wife Ffion.

The Blairs
The whole family are delighted
US president Bill Clinton's wife Hillary telephoned Mrs Blair while Russian President Vladimir Putin and his wife Lyudmila sent a telegram to Downing Street.

Ex-Tory prime minister John Major was the first public figure to telephone his best wishes to Mr Blair.

Other well-wishers included the Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy, the Lord Chancellor Lord Irvine of Lairg, and Mr Blair's Chief of Staff, Jonathan Powell.

The prime minister has promised to scale down work commitments to enable him to spend as much time as possible with the new baby - but has ruled out taking formal paternity leave.

The baby is expected to be christened at a Roman Catholic church in Mr Blair's Sedgefield, Co Durham, constituency.

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