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Last Updated: Monday, 8 May 2006, 15:03 GMT 16:03 UK
In quotes: Blair's exit strategy
Tony Blair says he will not be giving a timetable for his departure as prime minister because it would paralyse the government. Here is how some key players have reacted to that decision:

DAVID CAMERON, CONSERVATIVE LEADER

"The prime minister made a great mistake pre-announcing that he was going to go because his authority started to drain away from that moment. Now we have this great uncertainty, I think the sooner he goes the better, because I can't see how his authority can recover."

SIR JEREMY BEECHAM, CHAIR, LABOUR'S NATIONAL EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

"An orderly transition of the leadership is obviously important, as Tony Blair himself has made clear - we need to continue an orderly and constructive debate about policy. We must not indulge in a prolonged bout of introspection. To win a new term at the next election we have to be seen to address people's concerns about the future of their families and communities and to remind them just how much has changed for the better in terms of the economy, public services and social justice in the last nine years."

JACK MCCONNELL, SCOTTISH FIRST MINISTER

"The prime minister, the chancellor and members of the UK Cabinet, of course, have my support ... I would urge everybody at Westminster to get on with the business of government and ensure that they are focused on the big issues of jobs and education and health that relates to their responsibilities."

SIR MENZIES CAMPBELL, LIBERAL DEMOCRAT LEADER

"It really will be a triumph of hope over experience if the prime minister thinks that what he said today is going to put an end to the speculation. The Labour Party is in ferment, in turmoil because it wants this issue resolved. I can't see it going away on the basis of what the prime minister said this morning."

GERALDINE SMITH, LABOUR BACKBENCHER

"I think he does need to sit down with the chancellor, particularly, and reach some sort of agreement. After all, he has caused this problem by saying, for some reason that none of us can understand, that he won't fight the next general election, that he would stand down sometime during this Parliament."

MARK FISHER, LABOUR MP

"I think we have paralysis now. The speculation of not knowing when the prime minister is going to go is even more damaging. This was all started when Tony Blair said he would not contest the next election and he would go before then, so the question has been begged for some time, when will that date be?"

ALAN WHITEHEAD, LABOUR MP

"We need a framework or a protocol which enables everyone to have certainty. In order for people across the party to sign up to that idea of certainty, that certainty needs to be pretty clear and on the table over the next few weeks and months."

JOHN GROGAN, LABOUR MP

"If this partnership ends in tears or we descend into civil war between the two rival camps, I think the consequences will be with us for many years. We need to get to a stage where the two of them are talking to each other properly and discussing what is going to happen. We need to get some order in the situation pretty rapidly. The Labour Party will not forgive them if either one of them, or both of them, brings the house down."

GARY TITLEY, LEADER OF THE LABOUR MEPS

"We are going down the same road as the Tories did, where you have got has-beens and never-will-bes deciding to have their five minutes of glory in the press by attacking the Labour Party. A lot of the people we have been hearing from over the weekend want to take the Labour Party back to the 1980s. The Labour Party in the 1980s didn't win anything. We have really got to continue with our modernising agenda."

NEAL LAWSON, OF PRESSURE GROUP COMPASS

"This thing about the timetable isn't just for someone to get their feet under the table ... it's about changing the direction of the party. We would like to see a range of candidates with their hats in the ring. I think we have been paralysed for 18 months, since he made the unforced announcement that he was going to step down."



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