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Last Updated: Sunday, 27 July, 2003, 02:37 GMT 03:37 UK
Blair 'staying for third term'
Tony Blair and Gordon Brown
The rumours continue about Blair and Brown's alleged deal
Tony Blair is determined to be prime minister for a full third term, says one of his closest allies.

Lord Falconer, the Lord Chancellor, quashed speculation Mr Blair may step aside for Chancellor Gordon Brown to become premier.

Speaking in the Sunday Telegraph, Mr Blair's former housemate said the government's reform agenda would not be shaken by recent troubles.

Pressure has increased on the prime minister since the death of government scientist Dr David Kelly and the controversy surrounding intelligence on the Iraq weapons.

But Lord Falconer said there was no plan to step down.

He told the paper: "Of course - no doubt at all about that. He will stand at the next election on the basis that he will stand for a whole term."

Lord Falconer
Falconer has Blair's trust
Mr Blair had reportedly agreed with the chancellor - under the so-called Granita deal - to stand down after eight years.

Lord Falconer also said there would be no retreat on some of the policies which have stirred Labour rebels into discontent.

Reforms to the NHS, trial by jury and student fees must continue apace, he said.

"Mr Blair is absolutely committed to social justice, a sound economy and enterprise agenda.

"That is what we stand for as a government. Inevitably, as you seek to deliver reform, that will lead to groups opposing that.

"But we are strong enough and determined enough to argue the case and persuade."

Blair maps out election battle
11 Jul 03  |  Politics

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