[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Thursday, 10 May 2007, 17:05 GMT 18:05 UK
In quotes: Blair quits reaction
Political figures give their reaction to the news that Tony Blair is to stand down as prime minister after 10 years.

GORDON BROWN, CHANCELLOR

I think I spoke for millions of people when I said to the Cabinet today that Tony Blair's achievements are unique, unprecedented and enduring. Many people will remember how he led the country after July 7, how he responded for the whole world after September 11 in America, how he responded to the tragic death of Princess Diana. But over 10 years his enduring legacy will also be that he built better public services, a strong economy, that Britain's reputation in the world is stronger than ever before and that at all times he tried to do the right thing.

DAVID CAMERON, CONSERVATIVE LEADER

I've seen the prime minister's announcement about his timetable for departure and obviously some good things have happened in the last 10 years, not least the conclusion of the peace process in Northern Ireland just a few days ago. But when the prime minister spoke about some hopes that have been disappointed, I think that was putting it mildly. I think many people will look back on the last 10 years of dashed hopes and big disappointments, of so much promised and so little delivered.

SIR MENZIES CAMPBELL, LIB DEM LEADER

Overall his period in office can only be characterised as a decade of missed opportunities in which the hopes of the British people for a new kind of politics were shattered. Today politics is more devalued than ever: the gap between rich and poor is wider than it was under Margaret Thatcher; personal debt is spiralling out of control; hospitals are in deficit; and the UK is at the bottom of the Unicef league table for child well-being. These are the failures of the Blair premiership and failure of New Labour.

GEORGE GALLOWAY, RESPECT MP

[On Tony Blair's view that war in Iraq was of benefit to the Iraqi people] That's what every drunk-driver gives as his alibi after he's mown down a group of people at a level-crossing. That it was not his intention to cause that sort of carnage. He was warned that the effect of all this would be exactly as it turned out and in the light of all that, you have to say that this man is negligent on a scale which damns him forever.

LORD KINNOCK, FORMER LABOUR LEADER

The one word that has to be associated with Tony is "winner", not just of the unprecedented succession of three elections won by the Labour Party with large majorities, but also a winner because of his utter insistence and his endurance in Northern Ireland. A winner also in the way in which over 10 years the government which he has led has produced conditions in which people expect stable affluence. That is unprecedented.

JACK McCONNELL, FIRST MINISTER OF SCOTLAND

He changed Britain for the better, and forever. He delivered the greatest constitutional change in the UK for 300 years through devolution for Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, and achieved it without conflict or confusion. After 18 years of social and economic decline, he created economic stability, reduced poverty, and built a fairer country. He is a decent, honest man who will continue to make a major impact on the world stage.

RHODRI MORGAN, FIRST MINISTER OF WALES

Tony Blair will be remembered as a great friend to Wales because it was his landslide election victory in 1997 that led to devolution. No Labour leader before Tony Blair has ever won two elections on the trot with working majorities. Tony Blair has won three and has therefore been able to set the agenda for the whole of the UK for the start of the 21st Century.

MARTIN McGUINNESS, DEPUTY FIRST MINISTER OF NORTHERN IRELAND

I think everyone will recognise the positive contribution that Tony Blair has made to the development of the Irish peace process. In this, he was qualitatively different from all of his predecessors. [But] as an Irish republican I am committed to challenging the approach of the British government here and ending their presence in this part of Ireland.

FRANK DOBSON, FORMER LABOUR HEALTH SECRETARY

In non-domestic politics he will be plagued with [the war in Iraq]. It was a very bad decision. And it was a bad decision in terms of Britain's interests. It was a bad decision in terms of stimulating terrorism rather than reducing it. But probably its worst effect overall was it led to a great distrust of the prime minister.

REG KEYS, FATHER OF SOLDIER KILLED IN IRAQ

He will be leaving behind a mess in Iraq... I just wonder how his successor will sort out the Iraq mess.

KEN LIVINGSTONE, MAYOR OF LONDON

I think the most important single thing, with the passage of time, will be finally bringing a resolution to the problems in Northern Ireland. If you said 10 years ago the only thing this government will do is bring peace, then that's enough. The most catastrophic error is the war in Iraq. It has, in a sense, created a whole new generation of terrorists.

ALASTAIR CAMPBELL, FORMER SPIN DOCTOR

Tony Blair took the very difficult decision [to invade Iraq] and I was with him through a lot of that process, where he knew it was the toughest call he was going to have to make. It was a very difficult call and I think you wouldn't be human if you didn't sit around a decision as big as that and think: 'Was it the right thing, was it the wrong thing?' I think in his heart, he still thinks it was the right thing to do.

TONY JUNIPER, FRIENDS OF THE EARTH

Tony Blair has made a significant positive contribution to the global debate on climate change, but this has been undermined by his failure to tackle emissions at home. Despite repeated promises of substantial cuts in carbon dioxide, his climate strategy has failed and UK emissions have actually risen under his leadership.

LUCI CAROLAN, STOP THE WAR COALITION

We're universally loathed around the world for our foreign policy - what a legacy he leaves behind.

BOB CROW, RMT TRADE UNION

He squandered a massive landslide from an electorate hungry for change, poured billions of public pounds into private pockets and accelerated the growing gap between rich and poor. He promised a publicly owned and publicly accountable railway, but instead handed over London Underground infrastructure to the same privateers who have raked in millions and undermined safety on the national railways.

DR ROWAN WILLIAMS, ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY

As a man of genuine personal faith, he has not shied away from the risk associated with confronting extremism, while respecting difference

COUNCILLOR BRIAN MYERS, DURHAM COUNTY COUNCIL

Tony Blair has done a fantastic job for this region and for the country, and will be sorely missed. It's not a sad occasion but one of looking back on what has been achieved. People forget what things were like 10 years ago, and it's a damn sight better now than it was then.

STEPHEN BYERS, FORMER TRANSPORT SECRETARY

The challenge for Gordon Brown, who will be prime minister, is how he can be true to New Labour and keep that political momentum going but also have a different tone, perhaps a different style and be his own person.




FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific