British Prime Minister Gordon Brown is taking advice from his predecessor Tony Blair on how to win the next general election despite pressuring him out of office, the wife of the former prime minister said on Saturday.
In interviews with two newspapers — The Times and The Sun — Cherie Blair laid bare the tempestuous relationship between the two men who worked side by side in Downing Street for a decade. She described the crisis of confidence Blair suffered in April 2004 at the height of unpopularity over his decision to take Britain to war with Iraq and accused Brown of "rattling the keys above his head."
“I thought he was putting too much pressure on Tony to quit when Tony wasn't ready,” she told the Sun.
She also revealed Blair would have stood down earlier than last year if Brown — then running Britain's finances as Chancellor of the Exchequer — had been prepared to back him on key public service reforms.
“Instead of which Tony felt he had no option but to stay on and fight for the things he believed in,” she told the Times.
“There had been many times before when he'd thought he might stand down and I told him I didn't think it was the right time,” she told the Sun.
“I'm really proud Tony left Number 10 on his own terms.”
Brown had agreed to let Blair run as leader of the Labour party in a deal struck in 1994, on the proviso that Blair would eventually step aside. But Brown's impatience to take over as prime minister eventually soured their relationship.
Cherie Blair's disclosures came ahead of the publication of her memoirs "Speaking for Myself".