Michael Caine won over by Blair's vision

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The Independent Online
There are signs that Tony Blair is winning over the monied classes. Michael Caine, the actor and restaurateur who spent several years of the last Labour government in tax exile, is staying put.

One of several stars to have declared their intention of quitting Britain if Labour regained power, Mr Caine (right) has changed his mind. The 64- year-old actor, whose fortune has been estimated between pounds 16m and pounds 40m, is now firmly behind the new prime minister.

In an interview with LWT's London Programme to be screened tomorrow, Mr Caine said: "I had dinner with Tony Blair and I said if he was going to go with the 85-per-cent taxes again I was going to leave the country again.

"I said, `I'm not paying 85 per cent of my earnings, especially at my age. I've got to save up'."

But with no sign of tax hikes, Mr Caine has decided Mr Blair has the right ideas.

"Here is a man who has realised, as Major did, that you must have capitalism, but you cannot leave the poor behind," he said.

"They may not make a revolution against you, but they will knock down your door and take your television and VCR every night unless they have a job and something to do."

With overwhelming faith in the new administration, Mr Caine said Mr Blair would find jobs for the burglars. He also said he supported the idea of a new mayor for London, his native city, but said he would not accept the job.

"I'd be a good mayor, but I don't have the time," he said. "I do think a mayor for London should be something like a god, really. He has to be a good businessman, apolitical, fair and interested in London."