Blair shrugs off health scare

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Indy Politics

Tony Blair tried to play down feverish speculation about his health last night as two doctors gave him the all-clear after he suffered severe stomach pains.

A smiling Mr Blair insisted he felt fine as he left Downing Street. But Westminster was a hive of rumour about the strain on the Prime Minister after his second health scare in six weeks.

Downing Street said the new incident was unconnected with the irregular heartbeat for which he had hospital treatment last month.

Mr Blair was taken ill on Wednesday night and his GP was called. The doctor did not rule out appendicitis and sought a second opinion from a consultant, David Nott, who was rushed across London on a BMW motorcycle. Mr Nott decided his condition was not serious. The doctors returned on Thursday at lunchtime to check him again.

Yesterday Mr Blair held his daily 8am meeting with his staff, chaired the Cabinet's weekly session and then travelled to Wales.

In a speech to a Labour conference in Newport today, he will emphasise his determination to "complete the journey" on which the Government has embarked rather than "settle down".