Tony Blair Steps Down

British Prime Minister Tony Blair leaves the prime minister’s office on June 27, 2007. He’s stepping down after a decade in office, but Blair has no intentions of giving up politics just yet.

On the eve of just his 44th birthday, labor leader Tony Blair became Britain’s youngest prime minister in 200 years. His sweeping victory promised to transform and modernize Britain.

“People loved him. He had a 93 percent approval rating. That’s unheard of in politics,” said Simon Hoggart, with The Guardian Newspaper.

Blair’s energy and interests matched those of his first U.S. counterpart, former President Bill Clinton. Blair mingled with rock stars at 10 Downing Street, and met with Mideast leader Yassar Arafat early on to talk about peace, but it was his words on the death of Princess Diana that won him praise from the public.

“She was the people’s princess and that is how she will stay - how she will remain in our hearts and our memories forever,” Blair once said.

But Mr. Blair’s immediate decision to give President Bush, Britain’s full support after Sept. 11, 2001, has clouded the latter part of his 10-year tenure.

“And I say to you, we stand side by side with you without hesitation,” Blair had mentioned.

A majority of the British public turned against him, leading him to announce his departure from a job he loved earlier than he had hoped.

“The British are special. The world knows it. In our innermost thoughts we know it. This is the greatest nation on earth,” Blair said. It is a bittersweet ending.