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Blair: In his own words
Here are some of the key quotes from Tony Blair during his 10 years as Labour leader:

1994

How Tony Blair has aged during 10 years in office

"Everyone who knew John Smith knew he was someone of enormous strength and authority and he would have been a tower of strength to this country."
12 May, reacting to John Smith's death

"We must transform Labour from a party of protest to a party of government."
Leadership campaign leaflet

"I believe a referendum is right so that people can decide what is the best electoral system for the country."
15 July, BBC Radio 4 Today

''I shall not rest until, once again, the destinies of our people and our party are joined together again in victory at the next general election Labour in its rightful place in government again."
21 July, victory speech after leadership contest

"Any parent wants what is best for their children. I am not going to make a choice for my child on the basis of what is the politically correct thing to do."
1 December, ITV's Good Morning, on his decision to send his son to a grant maintained school

1995

"I lead my party. He follows his."
25 May, taunting John Major in the Commons

"I did not join the Labour Party to protest. I joined it as a party of government and I will make sure that it is a party of government."
September, at TUC conference

"A young country that wants to be a strong country cannot be morally neutral about the family."
3 October, outlining his vision for Britain in his party conference speech

"We are on the side of ordinary people against privilege, against vested interests of the public or private sector..."
30 November, Speech at the Victoria and Albert Museum

1996

"My project will be complete when the Labour Party learns to love Peter Mandelson."
2 March, Daily Telegraph

"I can't stand politicians who wear God on their sleeves."
7 April, Daily Telegraph

"We wish to change politics itself, to bridge the gap between governed and government and to try to address the deep seated and damaging disaffection with politics which has grown up in recent years."
14 May, Speech to Charter 88

"We have no plans to increase tax at all."
20 September, speech to CBI conference

"Ask me my three main priorities for government, and I tell you: education, education, education."
1 October, party conference speech

"At the time of the election, there will just be 1,000 days to the new millennium - 1,000 days to prepare for 1,000 years, a moment of destiny for us."
1 October, party conference speech

"Seventeen years of hurt. Never stopped us dreaming. Labour's coming home."
Party conference speech

1997

"I know exactly what the British people feel when they see the Queen's head on a 10 note. I feel it too."
17 April, article for The Sun newspaper

"We have 14 days to save the NHS."
17 April, election campaign soundbite

"We have been elected as New Labour and we will govern as New Labour."
2 May, victory speech, Royal Festival Hall

"It will be a government that seeks to restore trust in politics in this country."
2 May, Blair's first speech in Downing Street

"We are not the master now. The people are the masters. We are the servants of the people. We will never forget that.
7 May, addressing Labour MPs at Church House

"She was the people's princess and that is how she will stay, how she will remain in our hearts and minds forever."
31 August, paying tribute after the death of Diana, Princess of Wales

"I think most people who have dealt with me, think I'm a pretty straight sort of guy and I am."
16, November, BBC's On The Record, during the controversy over a donation to the Labour Party by Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone

1998

"We will say to ourselves with pride: this is our Dome, Britain's Dome. And believe me, it will be the envy of the world."
24 February, speech at Royal Festival Hall

"A day like today is not a day for soundbites, really. But I feel the hand of history upon our shoulders. I really do."
8 April, arriving in Belfast for the talks which produced the Good Friday Agreement.

"She was always a much better lawyer than I was."
7 October, Evening Standard, on his wife, Cherie

1999

"We are all tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime. The debate between 'liberals' and 'hardliners' is over."
22 April, speech to the Economic Club of Chicago, defining the Third Way

"We live in a world where isolationism has ceased to have a reason to exist."
Speech to Economic Club of Chicago

"I bear the scars on my back after two years in government."
6 July, talking about public sector reform during a speech to venture capitalists

"The 21st century will not be about the battle between capitalism and socialism but between the forces of progress and the forces of conservatism. They are what hold our nation back. Not just in the Conservative Party but within us, within our nation."
28 September, Labour conference speech

2000

"I don't ever stop being prime minister,"
9 April, commenting on his decision not to take paternity leave

"My son is basically a good kid. We will all get through this and see him right."
7 July, BBC Question Time, after teenage son Euan is found drunk and incapable in Leicester Square

"On the family, we need two or three eye-catching initiatives that are entirely conventional in terms of their attitude to the family... We need more. I should be personally associated with as much of this as possible."
17 July, leaked Blair memo

"I'm the prime minister that's supposed to be the great reader of public opinion. After the events of two weeks ago, it's no wonder the Government has taken a knock. It happened on my watch and I take responsibility."
26 September, Labour conference speech after the fuel blockades

2001

"John is John and I'm lucky to have him as my deputy."
16 May, Blair's reaction to Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott punching an egg-throwing protester during the general election campaign

"I think the 75p pension (increase), in retrospect we applied the rules, but it was a mistake."
13 May, The Observer, talking about what could have been done better in his first term as PM.

"It's not a burning ambition for me to make sure that David Beckham earns less money."
4 June, Newsnight

"It has been a remarkable and historic victory for my party but I am in no doubt at all as to what it means. It is a mandate for reform and for investment in the future and it is also very clearly an instruction to deliver."
8 June, victory speech as Labour gains a second term

"As for those that carried out these attacks, there are no adequate words of condemnation. Their barbarism will stand as their shame for all eternity."
11 September, speaking after the US terror attacks

"The kaleidoscope has been shaken. The pieces are in flux. Soon they will settle again. Before they do, let us re-order this world around us."
2 October, Labour conference speech

"The state of Africa is a scar on the conscience of the world."
2 October, Labour conference speech

2002

"Reformers versus wreckers. That is the battle for this Parliament and it is one that we must win."
3 February, Labour spring conference speech

"The document discloses that his military planning allows for some of the WMD to be ready within 45 minutes of an order to use them."
24 September, foreword to UK Government dossier on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction

"Conflict is not inevitable, but disarmament is."
8 November, speaking in Downing Street about Iraq

2003

"I did sit down with them at one point and I explained that this was going to be extremely difficult and it was possible that the thing could go against me."
18, April, The Sun, on telling his children he could lose his job over the Iraq war

"This is not the time to falter. This is the time for this House to give a lead."
18 March, addressing MPs before crunch vote on Iraq war

"I know that this course of action has produced deep divisions of opinion in our country."
21 March, broadcast to the nation after the start of the war

"I take full responsibility for decisions. I stand by them. I believe they were the right decisions."
28 August, speaking at the Hutton inquiry on the need to say a suspected source for the BBC's Iraq weapons story had come forward

"I can only go one way, I've not got a reverse gear."
30 September, Labour conference speech

"My health is absolutely fine - I'm feeling great."
2 December, after treatment for a heart scare

2004

"The allegation that I or anyone else lied to this House or deliberately misled the country by falsifying intelligence on WMD is itself the real lie."
28 January, Commons debate on the Hutton report

"I really do regard what Clare Short has said this morning as totally irresponsible."
26 February, Downing Street news conference as Ms Short claims UN offices were bugged

"It does not mean forgetting the pain of the past but it does mean recognising it's time to move on."
25 March, after his historic talks with Libya's Colonel Gaddafi

"It is time to resolve once and for all whether this country, Britain, wants to be at the centre and heart of European decision-making or not."
20 April, telling MPs about his U-turn on holding a Euro constitution referendum

"I am absolutely up for it ..."
30 May, discussing leading Labour into the next election, BBC Breakfast with Frost

"If I am elected, I would serve a full third term. I do not want to serve a fourth term - I don't think the British people would want a prime minister to go on that long. But I think it's sensible to make plain my intention now."
1 October, talking to the BBC after Labour's annual conference

2005

"It was a terrible, terrible thing to have happened. I don't believe we had any option however, but to disclose his name, because I think had we failed to do so, that would have been seen as attempting to conceal something from the committee that was looking in to this at the time."
April, speaking to Newsnight about the death of Dr David Kelly

"I think I have a very clear idea of what the British people now expect from this government for a third term."
6 May, after winning a third general election.

"It's not often in this job that you punch the air and do a little jig and embrace the person next to you."
7 July, after London wins the right to host the 2012 Olympics.

"It is a very sad day for the British people but we will hold true to the British way of life."
7 July, following the London tube and bus bombings.

"The rules of the game have changed. We welcome people here who are peaceful and law-abiding. People who want to be British citizens should share our values and our way of life. But if you come to our country from abroad, don't meddle in extremism. If you meddle in it or engage in it, then you're going to go back out again."
5 August, on the government's attitude to terrorists.

"Every time I've ever introduced a reform in government, I wish in retrospect I had gone further."
27 September, at Labour conference

"Sometimes it is better to lose and do the right thing than to win and do the wrong thing."
9 November, before government loses vote on plans to detain terror suspects for up to 90 days without trial

"You sit with our country's flag; you do not represent our country's interest. This is 2005, not 1945. We're not fighting each other anymore. These are our partners and colleagues and our future lies in Europe."
20 December, addressing UKIP members at a meeting of the European Parliament

2006

"I think if you have faith about these things, you realise that judgement is made by other people - and if you believe in God, it's made by God as well."
4 March, when asked by Michael Parkinson on ITV1 what role his Christian faith had in his decision-making over the Iraq war

"This is not a clash between civilisations. It is a clash about civilisation."
21 March, on Iraq

"Nobody in the Labour Party to my knowledge has sold honours or sold peerages and the fact that is sometimes excluded from the public's mind in relation to this debate is that there are places in the House of Lords that are reserved for party nominees for their party supporters."
16 July, on the cash-for-honours investigation

"The first thing I'd like to do is apologise actually on behalf of the Labour Party for the last week which, with everything that's going on back here and in the world, has not been our finest hour to be frank. But I think what is important now is that we understand that it's the interests of the country that come first and we move on. Now, as for my timing and date of departure, I would have preferred to do this in my own way but, as has been pretty obvious from what many of my Cabinet colleagues have said earlier in the week, the next party conference in a couple of weeks will be my last party conference as party leader."
7 September, following an attempted "coup"

"The next party conference in a couple of weeks will be my last party conference as party leader, the next TUC conference next week will be my last TUC - probably to the relief of both of us. But I am not going to set a precise date now. I don't think that's right."
7 September, on a visit to a school in north London

"In no relationship at the top of any walk of life is it always easy, least of all in politics, which matters so much and which is conducted in such a piercing spotlight. But I know New Labour would never have happened, and three election victories would never have been secured, without Gordon Brown. He is a remarkable man. A remarkable servant to this country. And that is the truth."
26 September, at Labour conference

"The truth is you can't go on forever. That's why it is right that this is my last conference as leader."
26 September, at Labour conference

"At least I don't have to worry about her running off with the bloke next door."
26 September, on wife Cherie's alleged criticism of Chancellor Gordon Brown

"However much he dances around the ring beforehand, he will come in reach of a big clunking fist and, you know what, he'll be out on his feet, carried out of the ring."
15 November, predicting Tory leader David Cameron will struggle with whoever becomes the next Labour prime minister

"It has, but you see what I say to people is why is it difficult in Iraq? It's not difficult because of some accident in planning."
17 November, when asked by Sir David Frost on Al Jazeera whether the violence in Iraq has "so far been pretty much of a disaster"

2007

"As has been very obvious from the comments of other ministers and indeed my own official spokesman, the manner of the execution of Saddam was completely wrong."
9 January, after ex-Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein is hanged amid jeering

"I'm not going to beg for my character."
2 February, after he is interviewed by police for a second time in relation to the cash-for-honours inquiry

"This is a very important day for the people of Northern Ireland, but also for the people and the history of these islands."
26 March, after it is announced devolved government is returning to Northern Ireland

"There are people who still think that the compromises that were made along the way were unacceptable. But sometimes politics is about that in order to achieve a better end. And there are always two kinds of people in politics: those who stand aside and commentate and those who get their hands dirty and do."
8 May, as devolution returns to Northern Ireland

"I ask you to accept one thing. Hand on heart, I did what I thought was right. I may have been wrong. That's your call.... I have been very lucky and very blessed. This country is a blessed nation. The British are special, the world knows it, in our innermost thoughts, we know it. This is the greatest nation on Earth. It has been an honour to serve it."
10 May, in speech announcing he will resign as prime minister.

"I give my thanks to you, the British people, for the times I have succeeded, and my apologies to you for the times I have fallen short."
Resignation speech



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