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Last Updated: Sunday, 15 April 2007, 12:09 GMT 13:09 UK
My legacy will last, says Blair
Tony Blair
Mr Blair said his achievements had to be judged over time

Tony Blair has said his legacy as prime minister will "stand the test of time" and the "final building blocks" of reform are being put in place.

He told BBC One's Politics Show that reducing NHS waiting times, building more schools and tackling anti-social behaviour were among his achievements.

He said planned policy announcements were not aimed at "binding" his successor, but "doing what is right".

His legacy would be judged "in the long term", Mr Blair added.

'Different politician'

Mr Blair, who is expected to announce his departure from office next month, said: "When you ask the question 'Will our changes stand the test of time?', the answer is they will."

He said he had become a "different type of politician" during his 10 years in Downing Street.

Mr Blair added that he had "tried to take decisions that are in the country's long-term interest".

Critics have argued that a planned series of announcements on health, education and anti-social behaviour are aimed at controlling the policy agenda of his successor, widely expected to be Chancellor Gordon Brown.

Mr Blair said: "It's nothing to do with binding the hands of my successor. It's doing what is right."

Hospitals

Despite a Royal College of Nursing report claiming that 22,300 NHS jobs have been lost in the last 18 months, Mr Blair defended his record on health.

He said: "When we came to power, people used to die on waiting lists waiting for their heart operations. People don't do that any more."

On education, he said only 80 schools in the country had 70% of their pupils getting five good GCSEs when the government came to power but "the figure today is over 600".

"The number of failing schools - cut dramatically, the number of 11-year-olds getting their requisite passes - up dramatically," he added.

Mr Blair said decisions which will be taken over the next few weeks will "secure the long-term changes for the future".


VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Tony Blair speaks to the BBC



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