Tony Blair pays tribute as 'remarkable' father Leo dies aged 89
Tony Blair last night paid tribute to his “remarkable” father who died yesterday at the age of 89.
Leo Blair – whose own ambitions to enter Parliament as a Conservative were scotched when he suffered a stroke at the age of 40 - was always close to his son who described him as an “extraordinary spirit” who he was “privileged to have as a dad”.
“Raised in a poor part of Glasgow, he worked his way up from nothing, with great ambitions dashed by serious illness on the very brink of their fulfilment,” Mr Blair said.
“He lost my mother, whom he adored, when she was still young. Yet despite it all he remained animated by an extraordinary spirit that was in him until the end.
“I was privileged to have him as a Dad.”
In a statement, Mr Blair's office said Leo Blair passed away peacefully with his son at his side.
A Communist as a young man, Leo Blair served in the Army in the Second World War, then after demobilisation studied law in his spare time to become a barrister and later a law lecturer in Australia and at Durham University.
He became a member of the Conservative Party and chairman of the Durham Conservative Association, but his dream of entering Parliament was stopped by a stroke at the age of 40, when his son Tony was 11.
12 years later his wife Hazel - Tony's mother - died of throat cancer in 1975.
Leo remarried and moved to Shropshire with his second wife, Olwyn. He joined the Labour Party in his 70s, when his son became leader.
Tony frequently spoke of his closeness to his father, and named his fourth child after him in 2000.
- 1 Autistic teenager beaten up by bullies makes them watch 20-minute video about autism
- 2 Greece debt crisis explained: A history of just how the country landed itself in such a mess
- 3 People all over the world are getting semicolon tattoos to draw attention to mental health
- 4 Greek debt crisis: Yanis Varoufakis's funniest (and most memorable) quotes
- 5 Swedish minister gives strongest case yet on why EU should stop turning away asylum seekers
More Britons believe that multiculturalism makes the country worse - not better, says poll
Osborne to cap family benefits at £23,000 – announced ahead of his post-election Budget
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
Sickness and disability benefits could be reduced by £30 a week as part of £12bn welfare cuts
£40000 - £50000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: HR Manager - West London - £...
£17000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£55 - 65k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: A HR Manager / HR Business Partner i...
£23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Company's vision is to be t...