|Birth Day:||May 6, 1953|
|Birth Place:||Edinburgh, Scotland|
|#6||Mary Augusta Ridgway Bridson||Grandmother||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|#7||Augustus William Bridson||Great-grandfather||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|#12||Cherie Blair||Spouse||$1 Million - $2 Million (Approx.)||N/A||66||Political Wife|
|Height||Weight||Hair Colour||Eye Colour||Blood Type||Tattoo(s)|
He lived in Australia for a few years while his father was a professor there.
Anthony Charles Lynton Blair was born at Queen Mary Maternity Home in Edinburgh, Scotland, on 6 May 1953. He was the second son of Leo and Hazel (née Corscadden) Blair. Leo Blair was the illegitimate son of two entertainers and was adopted as a baby by Glasgow shipyard worker James Blair and his wife, Mary. Hazel Corscadden was the daughter of George Corscadden, a butcher and Orangeman who moved to Glasgow in 1916. In 1923, he returned to (and later died in) Ballyshannon, County Donegal. In Ballyshannon, Corscadden's wife, Sarah Margaret (née Lipsett), gave birth above the family's grocery shop to Blair's mother, Hazel.
In 1972, at the age of nineteen, Blair enrolled for university at St John's College, Oxford, reading Jurisprudence for three years. As a student, he played guitar and sang in a rock band called Ugly Rumours, and performed some stand-up comedy, including parodying James T. Kirk as a character named Captain Kink. He was influenced by fellow student and Anglican priest Peter Thomson, who awakened his religious faith and left-wing politics. While at Oxford, Blair has stated that he was briefly a Trotskyist, after reading the first volume of Isaac Deutscher's biography of Leon Trotsky, which was "like a light going on". He graduated from Oxford at the age of 22 in 1975 with a second-class Honours B.A. in Jurisprudence.
In 1975, while Blair was at Oxford, his mother Hazel died aged 52 of thyroid cancer, which greatly affected him.
Blair joined the Labour Party shortly after graduating from Oxford in 1975. In the early 1980s, he was involved in Labour politics in Hackney South and Shoreditch, where he aligned himself with the "soft left" of the party. He put himself forward as a candidate for the Hackney council elections of 1982 in Queensbridge ward, a safe Labour area, but was not selected.
Blair married Cherie Booth, a Roman Catholic, who would later become a Queen's Counsel, on 29 March 1980. They have four children: Euan, Nicholas, Kathryn, and Leo. Leo, delivered by the Royal Surgeon/Gynaecologist Marcus Setchell, was the first legitimate child born to a serving Prime Minister in over 150 years – since Francis Russell was born to Lord John Russell on 11 July 1849. All four children have Irish passports, by virtue of Blair's mother, Hazel Elizabeth Rosaleen Corscaden (1923–1975). The family's primary residence is in Connaught Square; the Blairs own eight residences in total.
In 1982, Blair was selected as the Labour Party candidate for the safe Conservative seat of Beaconsfield, where there was a forthcoming by-election. Although Blair lost the Beaconsfield by-election and Labour's share of the vote fell by 10 percentage points, he acquired a profile within the party. Despite his defeat, William Russell, political correspondent for The Glasgow Herald, described Blair as "a very good candidate", while acknowledging that the result was "a disaster" for the Labour Party. In contrast to his later centrism, Blair made it clear in a letter he wrote to Labour leader Michael Foot in July 1982 (published in 2006) that he had "come to Socialism through Marxism" and considered himself on the left. Like Tony Benn, Blair believed that "Labour right" was bankrupt: "Socialism ultimately must appeal to the better minds of the people. You cannot do that if you are tainted overmuch with a pragmatic period in power." Yet, he saw the hard left as no better, saying:
John Burton became Blair's election agent and one of his most trusted and longest-standing allies. Blair's election literature in the 1983 general election endorsed left-wing policies that Labour advocated in the early 1980s. He called for Britain to leave the EEC as early as the 1970s, though he had told his selection conference that he personally favoured continuing membership and voted "Yes" in the 1975 referendum on the subject. He opposed the Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM) in 1986 but supported the ERM by 1989. He was a member of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, despite never strongly being in favour of unilateral nuclear disarmament. Blair was helped on the campaign trail by soap opera actress Pat Phoenix, his father-in-law's girlfriend. At the age of thirty, he was elected as MP for Sedgefield in 1983; despite the party's landslide defeat at the general election.
In his maiden speech in the House of Commons on 6 July 1983, Blair stated, "I am a socialist not through reading a textbook that has caught my intellectual fancy, nor through unthinking tradition, but because I believe that, at its best, socialism corresponds most closely to an existence that is both rational and moral. It stands for cooperation, not confrontation; for fellowship, not fear. It stands for equality."
Once elected, Blair's political ascent was rapid. He received his first front-bench appointment in 1984 as assistant Treasury spokesman. In May 1985, he appeared on BBC's Question Time, arguing that the Conservative Government's Public Order White Paper was a threat to civil liberties.
Blair demanded an inquiry into the Bank of England's decision to rescue the collapsed Johnson Matthey bank in October 1985. By this time, Blair was aligned with the reforming tendencies in the party (headed by leader Neil Kinnock) and was promoted after the 1987 election to the Shadow Trade and Industry team as spokesman on the City of London.
In 1987, he stood for election to the Shadow Cabinet, receiving 71 votes. When Kinnock resigned after a fourth consecutive Conservative victory in the 1992 general election, Blair became Shadow Home Secretary under John Smith. The old guard argued that trends showed they were regaining strength under Smith's strong leadership. Meanwhile, the breakaway SDP faction had merged with the Liberal Party; the resulting Liberal Democrats seemed to pose a major threat to the Labour base. Blair, the leader of the modernising faction, had an entirely different vision, arguing that the long-term trends had to be reversed. The Labour Party was too locked into a base that was shrinking, since it was based on the working-class, on trade unions, and on residents of subsidised council housing. The rapidly growing middle-class was largely ignored, especially the more ambitious working-class families. They aspired to middle-class status, but accepted the Conservative argument that Labour was holding ambitious people back with its levelling-down policies. They increasingly saw Labour in terms defined by the opposition, regarding higher taxes and higher interest rates. The steps towards what would become New Labour were procedural, but essential. Calling on the slogan, "One member, one vote" John Smith (with limited input from Blair) secured an end to the trade union block vote for Westminster candidate selection at the 1993 conference. But Blair and the modernisers wanted Smith to go further still, and called for radical adjustment of Party goals by repealing "Clause IV," the historic commitment to nationalisation of industry. This would be achieved in 1995.
John Smith died suddenly in 1994 of a heart attack. Blair defeated John Prescott and Margaret Beckett in the subsequent leadership election and became Leader of the Opposition. As is customary for the holder of that office, Blair was appointed a Privy Councillor.
In 1994, Blair forged close ties with Michael Levy, a leader of the Jewish Leadership Council. Levy ran the Labour Leader's Office Fund to finance Blair's campaign before the 1997 election and raised £12 million towards Labour's landslide victory, Levy was rewarded with a peerage, and in 2002, Blair appointed Lord Levy as his personal envoy to the Middle East. Levy praised Blair for his "solid and committed support of the State of Israel". Tam Dalyell, while Father of the House of Commons, suggested in 2003 that Blair's foreign policy decisions were unduly influenced by a "cabal" of Jewish advisers, including Levy, Peter Mandelson and Jack Straw (the last two are not Jewish but have some Jewish ancestry).
After the death of John Smith in 1994, Blair and his close colleague Gordon Brown (they shared an office at the House of Commons) were both seen as possible candidates for the party leadership. They agreed not to stand against each other, it is said, as part of a supposed Blair–Brown pact. Brown, who considered himself the senior of the two, understood that Blair would give way to him: opinion polls soon indicated, however, that Blair appeared to enjoy greater support among voters. Their relationship in power became so turbulent that (it was reported) the deputy prime minister, John Prescott, often had to act as "marriage guidance counsellor".
Blair announced at the end of his speech at the 1994 Labour Party conference that he intended to replace Clause IV of the party's constitution with a new statement of aims and values. This involved the deletion of the party's stated commitment to "the common ownership of the means of production and exchange", which was widely interpreted as referring to wholesale nationalisation. At a special conference in April 1995, the clause was replaced by a statement that the party is "democratic socialist", and Blair also claimed to be a "democratic socialist" himself in the same year. However, the move away from nationalisation in the old Clause IV made many on the left-wing of the Labour Party feel that Labour was moving away from traditional socialist principles of nationalisation set out in 1918, and was seen by them as part of a shift of the party towards "New Labour".
Later on, Blair questioned the Pope's attitude towards homosexuality, arguing that religious leaders must start "rethinking" the issue. Blair was reprimanded by Cardinal Basil Hume in 1996 for receiving Holy Communion at Mass, while still an Anglican, in contravention of canon law. On 22 December 2007, it was disclosed that Blair had joined the Roman Catholic Church. The move was described as "a private matter". He had informed Pope Benedict XVI on 23 June 2007 that he wanted to become a Catholic. The Pope and his advisors criticised some of Blair's political actions, but followed up with a reportedly unprecedented red-carpet welcome, which included the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster, Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, who would be responsible for Blair's Catholic instruction. In 2010, The Tablet named him as one of Britain's most influential Roman Catholics.
Blair became the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom on 2 May 1997, serving concurrently as First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service and Leader of the Labour Party. Aged 43, Blair became the youngest person to become Prime Minister since Lord Liverpool became Prime Minister aged 42 in 1812. He was also the first Prime Minister born after World War II and the accession of Elizabeth II to the throne. With victories in 1997, 2001, and 2005, Blair was the Labour Party's longest-serving Prime Minister, and the first and only person to date to lead the party to three consecutive general election victories.
Non-European immigration rose significantly during the period from 1997, not least because of the government's abolition of the primary purpose rule in June 1997. This change made it easier for UK residents to bring foreign spouses into the country. The former government advisor Andrew Neather in the Evening Standard stated that the deliberate policy of ministers from late 2000 until early 2008 was to open up the UK to mass migration. Neather later stated that his words had been twisted, saying: "The main goal was to allow in more migrant workers at a point when – hard as it is to imagine now – the booming economy was running up against skills shortages.... Somehow this has become distorted by excitable Right-wing newspaper columnists into being a "plot" to make Britain multicultural. There was no plot."
Blair criticised other governments for not doing enough to solve global climate change. In a 1997 visit to the United States, he made a comment on "great industrialised nations" that fail to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Again in 2003, Blair went before the United States Congress and said that climate change "cannot be ignored", insisting "we need to go beyond even Kyoto." Blair and his party promised a 20% reduction in carbon dioxide. The Labour Party also claimed that by 2010 10% of the energy would come from renewable resources; however, it only reached 7% by that point.
Blair has been noted as a charismatic, articulate speaker with an informal style. Film and theatre director Richard Eyre opined that "Blair had a very considerable skill as a performer". A few months after becoming Prime Minister Blair gave a tribute to Diana, Princess of Wales, on the morning of her death in August 1997, in which he famously described her as "the People's Princess".
After taking office in 1997, Blair gave particular prominence to his press secretary, who became known as the Prime Minister's Official Spokesman (the two roles have since been separated). Blair's first PMOS was Alastair Campbell, who served in that role from May 1997 to 8 June 2001, after which he served as the Prime Minister's Director of Communications and Strategy until his resignation on 29 August 2003 in the aftermath of the Hutton Inquiry.
His contribution towards assisting the Northern Ireland peace process by helping to negotiate the Good Friday Agreement (after 30 years of conflict) was widely recognised. Following the Omagh bombing on 15 August 1998, by members of the Real IRA opposed to the peace process, which killed 29 people and wounded hundreds, Blair visited the County Tyrone town and met with victims at Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast.
In his first six years in office, Blair ordered British troops into combat five times, more than any other prime minister in British history. This included Iraq in both 1998 and 2003, Kosovo (1999), Sierra Leone (2000) and Afghanistan (2001).
According to Press Secretary Alastair Campbell's diary, Blair often read the Bible before taking any important decisions. He states that Blair had a "wobble" and considered changing his mind on the eve of the bombing of Iraq in 1998.
Blair, on coming to office, had been "cool towards the right-wing Netanyahu government". During his first visit to Israel, Blair thought the Israelis bugged him in his car. After the election in 1999 of Ehud Barak, with whom Blair forged a close relationship, he became much more sympathetic to Israel. From 2001, Blair built up a relationship with Barak's successor, Ariel Sharon, and responded positively to Arafat, whom he had met thirteen times since becoming prime minister and regarded as essential to future negotiations. In 2004, 50 former diplomats, including ambassadors to Baghdad and Tel Aviv, stated they had "watched with deepening concern" at Britain following the US into war in Iraq in 2003. They criticised Blair's support for the road map for peace which included the retaining of Israeli settlements on the West Bank.
In 2000, Blair "flagged up" 100 million euros for green policies and urged environmentalists and businesses to work together.
From the start of the War on Terror in 2001, Blair strongly supported the foreign policy of George W. Bush, participating in the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan and 2003 invasion of Iraq. The invasion of Iraq was particularly controversial, as it attracted widespread public opposition and 139 of Blair's own MPs opposed it.
In 2001, Blair said, "We are a left of centre party, pursuing economic prosperity and social justice as partners and not as opposites". Blair rarely applies such labels to himself, but he promised before the 1997 election that New Labour would govern "from the radical centre", and according to one lifelong Labour Party member, has always described himself as a social democrat. However, in a 2007 opinion piece in the Guardian, left-wing commentator Neil Lawson described Blair as to the right of centre. A YouGov opinion poll in 2005 found that a small majority of British voters, including many New Labour supporters, placed Blair on the right of the political spectrum. The Financial Times on the other hand has argued that Blair is not conservative, but instead a populist.
Critics and admirers tend to agree that Blair's electoral success was based on his ability to occupy the centre ground and appeal to voters across the political spectrum, to the extent that he has been fundamentally at odds with traditional Labour Party values. Some left-wing critics, such as Mike Marqusee in 2001, argued that Blair oversaw the final stage of a long term shift of the Labour Party to the right.
Blair and Brown raised spending on the NHS and other public services, increasing spending from 39.9% of GDP to 48.1% in 2010–11. They pledged in 2001 to bring NHS spending to the levels of other European countries, and doubled spending in real terms to over £100 billion in England alone.
Blair built his foreign policy on basic principles (close ties with U.S. and E.U.) and added a new activist philosophy of "interventionism". In 2001 Britain joined the U.S. in the global war on terror.
There is some evidence that Blair's long term dominance of the centre forced his Conservative opponents to shift a long distance to the left to challenge his hegemony there. Leading Conservatives of the post-New Labour era hold Blair in high regard: George Osborne describes him as "the master", Michael Gove thought he had an "entitlement to conservative respect" in February 2003, while David Cameron reportedly maintained Blair as an informal adviser.
On 30 January 2003, Blair signed The letter of the eight supporting U.S. policy on Iraq.
Labour's overall majority at the 2005 general election was reduced from 167 to 66 seats. As a combined result of the Blair–Brown pact, Iraq war and low approval ratings, pressure built up within the Labour Party for Blair to resign. Over the summer of 2006 many MPs, including usually supportive MPs, criticised Blair for not calling for a ceasefire in the 2006 Israel–Lebanon conflict. On 7 September 2006, Blair publicly stated he would step down as party leader by the time of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) conference held 10–13 September 2007, having promised to serve a full term during the previous general election campaign. On 10 May 2007, during a speech at the Trimdon Labour Club, Blair announced his intention to resign as both Labour Party leader and Prime Minister.
However, a perception of one-sided compromising personal and political closeness led to discussion of the term "Poodle-ism" in the UK media, to describe the "Special Relationship" of the UK government and Prime Minister with the US White House and President. A revealing conversation between Bush and Blair, with the former addressing the latter as "Yo [or Yeah], Blair" was recorded when they did not know a microphone was live at the G8 summit in Saint Petersburg in 2006. In September 2019, during a panel discussion on the annual Yalta European Strategy forum, Blair said that the Western Countries should not neglect Ukraine in relations to the Russian Federation.
In 2006 Blair was criticised for his failure to immediately call for a ceasefire in the 2006 Lebanon War. The Observer newspaper claimed that at a cabinet meeting before Blair left for a summit with Bush on 28 July 2006, a significant number of ministers pressured Blair to publicly criticise Israel over the scale of deaths and destruction in Lebanon. Blair was criticised for his solid stance alongside US President George W. Bush on Middle East policy.
Blair was reported by The Guardian in 2006 to have been supported politically by Rupert Murdoch, the founder of the News Corporation organisation. In 2011, Blair became Godfather to one of Rupert Murdoch's children with Wendi Deng, but he and Murdoch later ended their friendship, in 2014, after Murdoch suspected him of having an affair with Deng while they were still married, according to The Economist magazine.
Blair's apparent refusal to set a date for his departure was criticised by the British press and Members of Parliament. It has been reported that a number of cabinet ministers believed that Blair's timely departure from office would be required to be able to win a fourth election. Some ministers viewed Blair's announcement of policy initiatives in September 2006 as an attempt to draw attention away from these issues.
In an interview with Michael Parkinson broadcast on ITV1 on 4 March 2006, Blair referred to the role of his Christian faith in his decision to go to war in Iraq, stating that he had prayed about the issue, and saying that God would judge him for his decision: "I think if you have faith about these things, you realise that judgement is made by other people ... and if you believe in God, it's made by God as well."
Michael Sheen has portrayed Blair three times, in the films The Deal (2003), The Queen (2006), and The Special Relationship (2009). Robert Lindsay portrayed Blair in the TV programme A Very Social Secretary (2005), and reprised the role in The Trial of Tony Blair (2007). He was also portrayed by James Larkin in The Government Inspector (2005), and by Ioan Gruffudd in W. (2008). In the 2006 Channel 4 comedy drama documentary, Tony Blair: Rock Star, he was portrayed by Christian Brassington.
At a special party conference in Manchester on 24 June 2007, he formally handed over the leadership of the Labour Party to Gordon Brown, who had been Chancellor of the Exchequer under Blair's three ministries. Blair tendered his resignation on 27 June 2007 and Brown assumed office during the same afternoon. Blair resigned from his Sedgfield seat in the House of Commons in the traditional form of accepting the Stewardship of the Chiltern Hundreds, to which he was appointed by Gordon Brown in one of the latter's last acts as Chancellor of the Exchequer. The resulting Sedgefield by-election was won by Labour's candidate, Phil Wilson. Blair decided not to issue a list of Resignation Honours, making him the first Prime Minister of the modern era not to do so.
Blair had an antagonistic relationship with Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and allegedly planned regime change against Mugabe in the early 2000s. Zimbabwe had embarked on a program of uncompensated land redistribution from the country's white commercial farmers to the black population, a policy that disrupted agricultural production and threw Zimbabwe's economy into chaos. General Charles Guthrie, the Chief of the Defence Staff, revealed in 2007 that he and Blair had discussed the invasion of Zimbabwe. Guthrie advised against military action: "Hold hard, you'll make it worse." In 2013, South African President Thabo Mbeki said that Blair had pressured South Africa to join in a "regime change scheme, even to the point of using military force" in Zimbabwe. Mbeki refused because he felt that "Mugabe is part of the solution to this problem." However, a spokesman for Blair said that "he never asked anyone to plan or take part in any such military intervention."
On 27 June 2007, Blair officially resigned as Prime Minister after ten years in office, and he was officially confirmed as Middle East envoy for the United Nations, European Union, United States, and Russia. Blair originally indicated that he would retain his parliamentary seat after his resignation as Prime Minister came into effect; however, on being confirmed for the Middle East role he resigned from the Commons by taking up an office of profit. President George W. Bush had preliminary talks with Blair to ask him to take up the envoy role. White House sources stated that "both Israel and the Palestinians had signed up to the proposal". In May 2008 Blair announced a new plan for peace and for Palestinian rights, based heavily on the ideas of the Peace Valley plan. Blair resigned as envoy in May 2015.
In November 2007 Blair launched the Tony Blair Sports Foundation, which aims to "increase childhood participation in sports activities, especially in the North East of England, where a larger proportion of children are socially excluded, and to promote overall health and prevent childhood obesity." On 30 May 2008, Blair launched the Tony Blair Faith Foundation as a vehicle for encouraging different faiths to join together in promoting respect and understanding, as well as working to tackle poverty. Reflecting Blair's own faith but not dedicated to any particular religion, the Foundation aims to "show how faith is a powerful force for good in the modern world". "The Foundation will use its profile and resources to encourage people of faith to work together more closely to tackle global poverty and conflict," says its mission statement.
Blair made an animated cameo appearance as himself in The Simpsons episode, "The Regina Monologues" (2003). He has also appeared as himself at the end of the first episode of The Amazing Mrs Pritchard, a British television series about an unknown housewife becoming Prime Minister. On 14 March 2007, Blair appeared as a celebrity judge on Masterchef Goes Large after contestants had to prepare a three-course meal in the Downing Street kitchens for Blair and Bertie Ahern. On 16 March 2007, Blair featured in a comedy sketch with Catherine Tate, who appeared in the guise of her character Lauren Cooper from The Catherine Tate Show. The sketch was made for the BBC Red Nose Day fundraising programme of 2007. During the sketch, Blair used Lauren's catchphrase "Am I bovvered?"
When Blair resigned as Prime Minister, Robert Harris, a former Fleet Street political editor, dropped his other work to write The Ghost. The CIA-influenced British prime minister in the book is said to be a thinly disguised version of Blair. The novel was filmed as The Ghost Writer with Pierce Brosnan portraying the Blair character, Adam Lang. Stephen Mangan portrays Blair in The Hunt for Tony Blair (2011), a one-off The Comic Strip Presents... satire presented in the style of a 1950s film noir. In the film, he is wrongly implicated in the deaths of Robin Cook and John Smith and on the run from Inspector Hutton. In 2007, the scenario of a possible war crimes trial for the former British prime minister was satirised by the British broadcaster Channel 4, in a "mockumentary", The Trial of Tony Blair, with concluded with the fictional Blair being dispatched to the Hague.
In May 2007, before his resignation, it was speculated that Blair would be offered a knighthood in the Order of the Thistle, owing to his Scottish connections (rather than the Order of the Garter, which is usually offered to former Prime Ministers). Blair reportedly indicated that he did not want the traditional knighthood or peerage bestowed on former prime ministers.
In January 2008, it was confirmed that Blair would be joining investment bank JPMorgan Chase in a "senior advisory capacity" and that he would advise Zurich Financial Services on climate change. His salary for this work is unknown, although it has been claimed it may be in excess of £500,000 per year. Blair also gives lectures, earning up to US$250,000 for a 90-minute speech, and in 2008 he was said to be the highest paid speaker in the world.
On 22 May 2008, Blair received an honorary law doctorate from Queen's University Belfast, alongside former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, for distinction in public service and roles in the Northern Ireland peace process.
As a result, he faced criticism over the policy itself and the circumstances of the decision. Alastair Campbell described Blair's statement that the intelligence on WMDs was "beyond doubt" as his "assessment of the assessment that was given to him." In 2009, Blair stated that he would have supported removing Saddam Hussein from power even in the face of proof that he had no such weapons. Playwright Harold Pinter and former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad accused Blair of war crimes.
Blair taught a course on issues of faith and globalisation at the Yale University Schools of Management and Divinity as a Howland distinguished fellow during the 2008–09 academic year. In July 2009, this accomplishment was followed by the launching of the Faith and Globalisation Initiative with Yale University in the US, Durham University in the UK, and the National University of Singapore in Asia, to deliver a postgraduate programme in partnership with the Foundation.
In February 2009 he applied to set up a charity called the Tony Blair Africa Governance Initiative: the application was approved in November 2009. In October 2012 Blair's foundation hit controversy when it emerged they were taking on unpaid interns.
On 13 January 2009, Blair was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George W. Bush. Bush stated that Blair was given the award "in recognition of exemplary achievement and to convey the utmost esteem of the American people" and cited Blair's support for the War on Terror and his role in achieving peace in Northern Ireland as two reasons for justifying his being presented with the award.
On 16 February 2009, Blair was awarded the Dan David Prize by Tel Aviv University for "exceptional leadership and steadfast determination in helping to engineer agreements and forge lasting solutions to areas in conflict". He was awarded the prize in May 2009.
Blair ordered Operation Barras, a highly successful SAS/Parachute Regiment strike to rescue hostages from a Sierra Leone rebel group. Historian Andrew Marr has argued that the success of ground attacks, real and threatened, over air strikes alone was influential on how Blair planned the Iraq War, and that the success of the first three wars Blair fought "played to his sense of himself as a moral war leader". When asked in 2010 if the success of Palliser may have "embolden[ed] British politicians" to think of military action as a policy option, General Sir David Richards admitted there "might be something in that".
Testifying before the Iraq Inquiry on 29 January 2010, Blair said Saddam was a "monster and I believe he threatened not just the region but the world." Blair said that British and American attitude towards Saddam Hussein had "changed dramatically" after the 11 September attacks. Blair denied that he would have supported the invasion of Iraq even if he had thought Saddam had no weapons of mass destruction. He said he believed the world was safer as a result of the invasion. He said there was "no real difference between wanting regime change and wanting Iraq to disarm: regime change was US policy because Iraq was in breach of its UN obligations." In an October 2015 CNN interview with Fareed Zakaria, Blair apologised for his "mistakes" over Iraq War and admitted there were "elements of truth" to the view that the invasion helped promote the rise of ISIS. The Chilcot Inquiry report of 2016 gave a damning assessment of Blair's role in the Iraq War, though the former prime minister again refused to apologise for his decision to back the US-led invasion.
Blair had close relationships with the Clinton family. The strong partnership with Bill Clinton was made into the film "The Special Relationship" in 2010.
During the 2010 election campaign Blair publicly endorsed Gordon Brown's leadership, praising the way he had handled the financial crisis.
In July 2010 it was reported that his personal security guards claimed £250,000 a year in expenses from the tax payer, Foreign Secretary William Hague said; "we have to make sure that [Blair's security] is as cost-effective as possible, that it doesn't cost any more to the taxpayer than is absolutely necessary".
In March 2010, it was reported that Blair's memoirs, titled The Journey, would be published in September 2010. In July 2010 it was announced the memoirs would be retitled A Journey. The memoirs were seen by many as controversial and a further attempt to profit from his office and from acts related to overseas wars that were widely seen as wrong, leading to anger and suspicion prior to launch.
On 16 August 2010 it was announced that Blair would give the £4.6 million advance and all royalties from his memoirs to the Royal British Legion – the charity's largest ever single donation.
On 13 September 2010, Blair was awarded the Liberty Medal at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It was presented by former President Bill Clinton, and is awarded annually to men and women of courage and conviction who strive to secure the blessings of liberty to people around the globe.
On 8 July 2010, Blair was awarded the Order of Freedom by the President of Kosovo, Fatmir Sejdiu. As Blair is credited as being instrumental in ending the conflict in Kosovo, some boys born in the country following the war have been given the name Toni or Tonibler.
Even after the Libyan Civil War in 2011, he said he had no regrets about his close relationship with the late Libyan leader. During Blair's premiership, MI6 rendered Abdelhakim Belhadj to the Gaddafi regime in 2004, though Blair later claimed he had "no recollection" of the incident.
In November 2011, a war crimes tribunal of the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission, established by Malaysia's former and current Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, reached a unanimous conclusion that Blair and George W. Bush are guilty of crimes against peace, crimes against humanity, and genocide as a result of their roles in the 2003 Iraq War. The proceedings lasted for four days, and consisted of five judges of judicial and academic backgrounds, a tribunal-appointed defence team in lieu of the defendants or representatives, and a prosecution team including international law professor Francis Boyle.
A Freedom of Information request by The Sunday Times in 2012 revealed that Blair's government considered knighting Syria's President Bashar al-Assad. The documents showed Blair was willing to appear alongside Assad at a joint press conference even though the Syrians would probably have settled for a farewell handshake for the cameras; British officials sought to manipulate the media to portray Assad in a favourable light; and Blair's aides tried to help Assad's "photogenic" wife boost her profile. The newspaper noted:
In September 2012, Desmond Tutu suggested that Blair should follow the path of former African leaders who had been brought before the International Criminal Court in The Hague. The human rights lawyer Geoffrey Bindman, interviewed on BBC radio, concurred with Tutu's suggestion that there should be a war crimes trial. In a statement made in response to Tutu's comments, Blair defended his actions. He was supported by Lord Falconer, who stated that the war had been authorised by United Nations Security Council Resolution 1441.
Blair responded to such criticism by saying his choice to advise the country is an example of how he can "nudge controversial figures on a progressive path of reform", and has stated that he receives no personal profit from this advisory role. The Kazakhstan foreign minister said that the country was "honoured and privileged" to be receiving advice from Blair. A letter obtained by The Daily Telegraph in August 2014 revealed Blair had given damage-limitation advice to Nazarbayev after the December 2011 Zhanaozen massacre. Blair was reported to have accepted a business advisory role with President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt, a situation deemed incompatible with his role as Middle East envoy. Blair described the report as "nonsense".
Blair's financial assets are structured in a complicated manner, and as such estimates of their extent vary widely. These include figures of up to £100 million. Blair stated in 2014 that he was worth "less than £20 million". A 2015 assertion, by Francis Beckett, David Hencke and Nick Kochan, concluded that Blair had acquired $90 million and a property portfolio worth $37.5 million in the eight years since he had left office.
In 2014, Vanity Fair and The Economist published allegations that Blair had had an extramarital affair with Wendi Deng, who was then married to Rupert Murdoch. Blair categorically denied the allegations.
In December 2016, Blair created the Tony Blair Institute to promote global outlooks by governments and organisations.
The Chilcot report after the conclusion of the Iraq Inquiry was issued on 6 July 2016 and it criticised Blair for joining the US in the war in Iraq in 2003. Afterwards, Blair issued a statement and held a two-hour press conference to apologise and to justify the decisions he had made in 2003 "in good faith" and denying allegations that the war had led to a significant increase in terrorism. He acknowledged that the report made "real and material criticisms of preparation, planning, process and of the relationship with the United States" but cited sections of the report that he said "should lay to rest allegations of bad faith, lies or deceit". He stated: "whether people agree or disagree with my decision to take military action against Saddam Hussein; I took it in good faith and in what I believed to be the best interests of the country. ... I will take full responsibility for any mistakes without exception or excuse. I will at the same time say why, nonetheless, I believe that it was better to remove Saddam Hussein and why I do not believe this is the cause of the terrorism we see today whether in the Middle East or elsewhere in the world".
His first grandchild (a girl) was born in October 2016.
In July 2017, former Iraqi general Abdulwaheed al-Rabbat launched a private war crimes prosecution, in the High Court in London, asking for Tony Blair, former foreign secretary Jack Straw and former attorney general Lord Goldsmith to be prosecuted for "the crime of aggression" for their role in the 2003 invasion of Iraq. The High Court ruled that, although the crime of aggression was recognised in international law, it was not an offence under UK law, and, therefore, the prosecution could not proceed.
Blair was interviewed in June 2020 for an article in the American magazine The Atlantic on European views of U.S. foreign policy following the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting recession, increased tensions in Sino-American relations, and the George Floyd protests. He affirmed his belief in the continued strength of American soft power and the need to address Iranian military aggression, European defence budgets, and Chinese trade. He said, however, "I think it's fair to say a lot of political leaders in Europe are dismayed by what they see as the isolationism growing in America and the seeming indifference to alliances. But I think there will come a time when America decides in its own interest to reengage, so I'm optimistic that America will in the end understand that this is not about relegating your self-interest behind the common interest; it's an understanding that by acting collectively in alliance with others you promote your own interests." Blair warned that structural issues plaguing American domestic policy needed to be addressed imminently.
Currently, Tony Blair is 68 years, 5 months and 19 days old. Tony Blair will celebrate 69th birthday on a Friday 6th of May 2022.
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