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UK PM Blair to step down next year: Report

Blair will resign as the leader of the Labour party on May 31, which would be followed an eight week leadership campaign to elect a new leader.

india Updated: Sep 06, 2006 16:52 IST

Amid mounting pressure from his party MPs, embattled British Prime Minister Tony Blair has decided to remit office on July 26 next year, a media report said.

Blair will resign as the leader of the Labour party on May 31, which would be followed an eight week leadership campaign to elect a new leader, the Sun newspaper said.

"He has finally decided to step down as Labour leader on May 31 next year -- exactly ten years and 30 days after becoming PM," it said.

Downing Street declined to comment on the report, although some Blair loyalists had been authorised to declare in public that he would leave office within a year.

The Sun newspaper said once his successor has been chosen, most likely Chancellor Gordon Brown, he would go to Buckingham Palace and formally quit on July 26, 2007.

Blair and a hand-picked circle of advisers are now working on the details of his resignation timing, it said.

It is believed that some Labour MPs have circulated a letter asking Blair to confirm the report.

According to the Telegraph, a group of his party MPs have signed a letter calling upon him to step down immediately.

Environment Secretary David Miliband, a Blair loyalist, told BBC Radio 4: "The conventional wisdom is that the Prime Minister sees himself carrying on for about another 12 months and it seems to me that conventional wisdom is reasonable."

"I am confident that by this time next year there will be a new leader who will make his first big speech at the next party conference," Sir Jeremy Beecham, chairman of Labour's ruling national executive committee, was quoted as saying by Sun.