President Blair? Former PM 'considered quitting to stand for EU's top job'

TONY BLAIR considered quitting as Prime Minister to mount a bid to become president of the European Commission, one of his closest advisers claimed.

PUBLISHED: PUBLISHED: 08:01, Sun, Jan 10, 2021

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Since he retired as Prime Minister in 2007, Tony Blair has led a relatively quiet life. Because of the inquiry over the Iraq War, security worries prevented him from attending the launch of his own memoirs. He also appears to have lost every battle he cared about or was involved in – from Jeremy Corbyn becoming Labour leader to Britain leaving the EU.

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The coronavirus crisis seems to have given him a new lease of political life, though.

This week, he appeared on Good Morning Britain, urging the Government to speed up its vaccination scheme as he warned of a “cat and mouse game” with new variants of coronavirus.

As many wonder whether his next step will be fully returning to politics, the largely forgotten diaries of his former press aide Alastair Campbell reveal what Mr Blair would have liked to do with his career after Downing Street.

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The diaries, published in 2016, detailed how Mr Blair discussed quitting as Prime Minister for a job in the EU three years before he finally stood down.

The former Prime Minister was reportedly agonising over whether he should quit as an MP at the 2005 general election.

ctp_video, autoplay_video, tony blair, tony blair news, european union, eu news, eu latest, boris johnson, boris johnson news, brexit, brexit latest,President Blair? Former PM 'considered quitting to stand for EU's top job' (Image: GETTY)

In an entry on April 3, 2004, Mr Campbell wrote: "I asked him where his gut feeling was.

"He said if he had to make the decision, right here, right now, it was probably towards standing down before the election and letting GB [Gordon Brown] fight it.

"He had never felt he would do three terms.

"His worry was Gordon Brown and whether he could actually do the job, also whether he really was a moderniser."

Nearly three weeks later, on April 23, Mr Blair was speculating that Mr Brown "would grow into it", according to the diary.

Mr Campbell continued: "He [Mr Blair] then said there was another complication.

"He wondered whether he shouldn't go for the European President' job, because he felt he could do it well and he would be doing it at a very important time."

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Tony BlairFormer Prime Minister Tony Blair (Image: GETTY)

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