Blair will quit as MP at next election, says agent

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Indy Politics

John Burton, one of Mr Blair's oldest political allies in the Sedgefield constituency he has held for 22 years, said he had been informed by Mr Blair that he did not intend to continue as an MP when he leaves No 10.

"Tony has said he is packing it in as leader and he's not going to stay on the back benches - so I can't see him standing at the next election. He has spoken to me about it and, so far as I know, he is not going to stand."

Mr Blair, who recently bought a £3.6m London town house, may need the income from his memoirs and US speaking tours to pay the mortgage but he has told allies that he will not be looking for a top-flight international role, either at the UN or the EU.

There were fears in the Brown camp that Mr Blair would rethink his plan to step down as Prime Minister before the next general election after helping win the bid for the 2012 Olympics, and gaining praise for his response to the London bombings.

Downing Street did not deny a report yesterday that he would quit as an MP. A spokesman said that he not yet had "the conversation" with his wife, Cherie, about his possible departure. The spokesman added: "If the Prime Minister was making any announcement, it is something that he would discuss with his family and his constituents. He hasn't had these discussions. It is not a matter he has turned his mind to. He has not had the conversation with his family."

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