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Last Updated: Monday, 20 October, 2003, 12:50 GMT 13:50 UK
A week in the life of Tony Blair

By Nick Assinder
BBC News Online political correspondent

It may have started with a health scare, but the rest of Tony Blair's week will be business as usual.

Cabinet table
PM will chair ministerial meetings
And that means he will fill a packed schedule with duties including a speech, a Commons question time and a live televised press conference.

So, for the prime minister, it is a pretty average week.

Although he was working at less than full throttle on Monday, he still held all his normal meetings - cancelling only a Commons statement on the weekend's European summit in Brussels.

They included the regular nine o'clock strategy meeting with ministers and officials, a meeting with the cabinet secretary and meetings with other ministers and officials throughout the day.

Cabinet meeting

On Tuesday he will have further meetings during the day plus his usual early evening audience with the Queen.

On Wednesday morning he will spend time with his closest advisers preparing for his usual Commons question time clash with Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith.

There will be little in the way of a breather after that as he is scheduled to later deliver a speech in London on the public services.

Tony Blair
Tony Blair will hold monthly press conference
On Thursday he will chair the weekly cabinet meeting in the morning before holding his monthly televised press conference in Downing Street.

That session under the glare of the television lights can last for anything between one hour to two hours.

Later in the day he will set off on a regional tour outside London. Downing Street do not reveal details of such trips until nearer the time.

That will continue into Friday when he is likely to return to Downing Street.

An average week might see him spending the weekend either in his Sedgefield constituency or at his country residence, Chequers.

General election

As well as the packed diary there are always the unforeseen issues that blow up on a regular basis and will demand further meetings.

Often there will be a foreign trip although it was always likely the prime minister would start to scale those down over the next couple of years as he concentrated on domestic issues in the lead up to the next general election.

However there will be foreign leaders to speak to - whether it is the US president or a European counterpart.

There has been speculation in Northern Ireland that Mr Blair will visit there if a deal could be reached to restore devolution.

In addition to this he also meets with or speaks to his press spokesmen and spin doctors on a daily basis.

While Alastair Campbell was in post, he was constantly at the prime minister's side.

And the prime minister regularly has social engagements in the evenings, often in Downing Street.

These are often private gatherings and are not publicised.

Similarly more sensitive meetings with ministers, officials, backbenchers and others both inside and outside Westminster are not revealed.

And in his spare time he likes to spend time with his wife and four children!




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