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Last Updated: Monday, 7 November 2005, 16:10 GMT
Blair determined over quit timing
Tony Blair
Mr Blair says he is not keen to 'go on and on and on'
Tony Blair says he is not tempted to fight a fourth term as prime minister, despite a Newsnight poll suggesting a quarter of people want him to stay on.

Mr Blair has said he will stand down as prime minister before the election.

Asked by reporters at his monthly press conference if he could be persuaded to stay on, Mr Blair said: "No, I've made up my mind on that."

The ICM poll also suggests 28% think Mr Blair should step down now, an option he also rejected on Monday.

'On and on and on'

Of the remainder who expressed a view, 19% believe he should go within a year while 23% believe he should stay more than a year before quitting.

If you let me know the people that you've polled, I'll give them a personal letter of thanks
Tony Blair

Mr Blair admitted that he might be to blame for questions over the timing of his departure with his announcement before the last election that he would not be standing for a fourth term.

But he pointed to the demise of ex-Tory leader Margaret Thatcher after she said in her third term that she would "go on and on and on".

He argued that how long a prime minister would stay in place was always a matter of speculation when they had been there for a certain amount of time.

But he told reporters he was keen to see Labour's reform programme "as part of building the platform for a potential fourth term victory".

'Enough is enough'

"Because it is only when you do difficult things as a government and see them through that the public think you have got it in you to govern," he said.

He said Labour had won its first and second term on the basis that people had had "enough of the other lot" - referring to the Conservatives who were in power for 18 years.

But by the time a prime minister gets to his third or fourth term, "you have got to show you've got a mission for the country", he said.

ICM Research interviewed a random sample of 1019 people across the country.

Profile: Tony Blair
05 Apr 05 |  The Basics
From Blair to Brown
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Blair: A question of leadership
07 Nov 05 |  UK Politics
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03 Nov 05 |  UK Politics

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