PM uses video to reveal stress and strain of life at No 10
Tuesday 03 January 2006
The video, entitled A Day in the Life - an exclusive insight into the PM's working life, was posted yesterday morning on the Downing Street website. In it, Mr Blair admitted: "The hours are very long. I've never actually totted up the hours I do in any week, it's probably not lawful under some directive or other."
It was a gentle beginning to what will quickly become a difficult parliamentary session when MPs return next week and the argument resumes over his controversial plan to reform the state school system.
Government whips are also nervous about proposed reforms to the welfare state, including plans to reduce the £12bn cost of incapacity benefit, which will be published later this month, although some of the most controversial ideas mooted by Downing Street have been dropped. The benefit is to be made conditional on claimants co-operating with government schemes to help them back into employment.
John Hutton, the Work and Pensions Secretary, sought to head off trouble from Labour's back benches by publishing statistics showing that the areas with the largest numbers claiming to be off work with long-term illness were also the areas with the highest rates of unemployment and other social problems. "The clear link between benefit dependency and hardship is striking."
Mr Hutton wrote to the 100 MPs with the largest number of constituents on incapacity benefit pleading for their support. Heading the list was the Labour MP David Marshall, whose East Glasgow seat has 11,300 claiming long-term sickness. All but six are Labour MPs, and only one - the Isle of Wight MP Andrew Turner - is a Conservative.
Many Labour MPs are becoming increasingly pessimistic about the May council elections. With the polls showing the Conservatives enjoying a political recovery under David Cameron, it is feared that hundreds of Labour councillors will lose their seats, and that many councils long held by Labour, including several London boroughs, will fall into Tory hands.
But in the video, a relaxed Mr Blair hints that his Tory rival is still untested as a potential prime minister. "Being Leader of the Opposition does not prepare you quite adequately for the difficulty of doing the prime minister's job, just because it's completely a different order of stress, challenge, pressure," he said.
"What is worthwhile is getting things done. And when you get things done and you see results, and you think, well, in part, that happened as a result of something I did, or we did, or decisions that were taken here, that's what makes everything worthwhile and it's an enormous privilege to be able to do it."
The video includes the first footage of a cabinet meeting, although it is not possible to hear what is being said. Mr Blair is seen with jacket off, talking informally to the camera, interspersed with shots of him visiting a hospital, taking Prime Minister's Questions, and meeting world leaders. He also talks of the pressure of being constantly in the public eye.
Apple has been hit by complaints about the 1.1GB download
Liam Neeson's Downton dreams
Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage
Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour
Matt Smith is set to join cast of the Jane Austen classic - with a twist
Much-loved cartoon character returns - without Sir David Jason
Actress to appear in second series of the hugely popular crime drama
- 2 Scottish independence: Learn from Quebec's mistakes and beware of promises. Vote Yes.
- 3 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 5 Have you heard about the film Singapore has banned its people from watching? Well, you have now
Thailand beach murders: Thai PM suggests 'attractive' female tourists cannot expect to be safe wearing bikinis
Scottish independence: Final opinion polls show undecided voters could swing result either way
Scottish independence: Almost half of No voters have felt 'personally threatened' by the Yes campaign
Isis release 'Flames of War' video warning Obama of attacks troops could face in Iraq
Hitler’s former food taster reveals the horrors of the Wolf’s Lair
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
£24000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...
£45000 - £55000 Per Annum 31 days holiday, pension, healthcare, annual bonus: ...
£110 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Preston: We are looking for an experie...
£100 - £222 per day: Randstad Education Bristol: We are currently recruiting f...