136 Facts About Tony Blair


Sir Anthony Charles Lynton Blair was born on 6 May 1953 and is a British former politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1997 to 2007 and Leader of the Labour Party from 1994 to 2007.


Tony Blair served as Leader of the Opposition from 1994 to 1997, and had various shadow cabinet posts from 1987 to 1994.


Tony Blair was the Member of Parliament for Sedgefield from 1983 to 2007.


Tony Blair is the second longest serving prime minister in modern history after Margaret Thatcher, and is the longest serving Labour politician to have held the office.


Tony Blair attended the independent school Fettes College, studied law at St John's College, Oxford, and later qualified as a barrister.


Tony Blair became involved in the Labour Party and was elected to the House of Commons in 1983 for the Sedgefield constituency in County Durham.


Tony Blair was appointed to Neil Kinnock's shadow cabinet in 1988 and was appointed Shadow Home Secretary by John Smith in 1992.


Tony Blair became the youngest prime minister of the 20th century after winning the 1997 general election, Labour's largest general election victory in history.


On foreign policy, Tony Blair oversaw British interventions in Kosovo in 1999 and Sierra Leone in 2000, which were generally perceived as successful.


In 2003, Tony Blair supported the invasion of Iraq and had the British Armed Forces participate in the Iraq War, claiming that Saddam Hussein's regime possessed weapons of mass destruction ; no WMDs were ever found in Iraq.


Tony Blair was re-elected for a third term in 2005, in part thanks to the UK's strong economic performance, but with a substantially reduced majority, in part thanks to the UK's involvement in the Iraq War.


Tony Blair pushed for more systemic public sector reform during his third term and brokered a settlement to restore powersharing to Northern Ireland.


The Afghanistan and Iraq wars continued, and in 2006, Tony Blair announced he would resign within a year.


Tony Blair resigned the party leadership on 24 June 2007 and as prime minister on 27 June 2007, and was succeeded by Gordon Brown, his chancellor.


Tony Blair has been the executive chairman of the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change since 2016, and has made occasional political interventions.


At various points in his premiership, Tony Blair was among both the most popular and most unpopular politicians in UK history.


Tony Blair was born at Queen Mary Maternity Home in Edinburgh, Scotland, on 6 May 1953.


Tony Blair was the second son of Leo and Hazel Blair.


Leo Tony Blair was the illegitimate son of two entertainers and was adopted as a baby by Glasgow shipyard worker James Tony Blair and his wife, Mary.


Tony Blair has an older brother, William, and a younger sister, Sarah.


Tony Blair's father lectured in law at the University of Adelaide.


Tony Blair's father accepted a job as a lecturer at Durham University, and thus moved the family to Durham, England.


Aged five, this marked the beginning of a long association Tony Blair was to have with Durham.


In 1972, at the age of 19, Tony Blair matriculated at St John's College, Oxford, reading jurisprudence for three years.


Tony Blair was influenced by fellow student and Anglican priest Peter Thomson, who awakened his religious faith and left-wing politics.


In 1975, while Tony Blair was at Oxford, his mother Hazel died aged 52 of thyroid cancer, which greatly affected him.


Tony Blair met his future wife, Cherie Booth, at the chambers founded by Derry Irvine, 11 King's Bench Walk Chambers.


Tony Blair joined the Labour Party shortly after graduating from Oxford in 1975.


Tony Blair stood as a candidate for the Hackney council elections of 1982 in Queensbridge ward, a safe Labour area, but was not selected.


In 1982, Tony Blair was selected as the Labour Party candidate for the safe Conservative seat of Beaconsfield, where there was a forthcoming by-election.


In contrast to his later centrism, Tony Blair made it clear in a letter he wrote to Labour leader Michael Foot in July 1982 that he had "come to Socialism through Marxism" and considered himself on the left.


Tony Blair was invited to stand again in Beaconsfield, and was initially inclined to agree but was advised by his head of chambers Derry Irvine to find somewhere else which might be winnable.


When he discovered the Trimdon branch had not yet made a nomination, Tony Blair visited them and won the support of the branch secretary John Burton, and with Burton's help was nominated by the branch.


Tony Blair called for Britain to leave the EEC as early as the 1970s, though he had told his selection conference that he personally favoured continuing membership and voted "Yes" in the 1975 referendum on the subject.


Tony Blair opposed the Exchange Rate Mechanism in 1986 but supported the ERM by 1989.


Tony Blair was a member of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, despite never strongly being in favour of unilateral nuclear disarmament.


Tony Blair was helped on the campaign trail by soap opera actress Pat Phoenix, his father-in-law's girlfriend.


Tony Blair received his first front-bench appointment in 1984 as assistant Treasury spokesman.


Tony Blair demanded an inquiry into the Bank of England's decision to rescue the collapsed Johnson Matthey bank in October 1985.


When Kinnock resigned after a fourth consecutive Conservative victory in the 1992 general election, Tony Blair became shadow home secretary under John Smith.


Tony Blair defeated John Prescott and Margaret Beckett in the subsequent leadership election and became Leader of the Opposition.


At a special conference in April 1995, the clause was replaced by a statement that the party is "democratic socialist", and Tony Blair claimed to be a "democratic socialist" himself in the same year.


Tony Blair inherited the Labour leadership at a time when the party was ascendant over the Conservatives in the opinion polls, since the Conservative government's reputation in monetary policy was left in tatters by the Black Wednesday economic disaster of September 1992.


At the 1996 Labour Party conference, Tony Blair stated that his three top priorities on coming to office were "education, education, and education".


Tony Blair was forced to back down on these proposals because John Prescott and Gordon Brown opposed the PR system, and many members of the Shadow Cabinet were worried about concessions being made towards the Lib Dems.


Tony Blair became the prime minister of the United Kingdom on 2 May 1997.


Aged 43, Tony Blair became the youngest person to become prime minister since Lord Liverpool became prime minister aged 42 in 1812, and until Rishi Sunak became prime minister in 2022.


The Kosovo War, which Tony Blair had advocated on moral grounds, was initially a failure when it relied solely on air strikes; the threat of a ground offensive convinced Serbia's Slobodan Milosevic to withdraw.


Palliser had been intended as an evacuation mission but Brigadier David Richards was able to convince Tony Blair to allow him to expand the role; at the time, Richards' action was not known and Tony Blair was assumed to be behind it.


Journalist Andrew Marr has argued that the success of ground attacks, real and threatened, over air strikes alone was influential on how Tony Blair planned the Iraq War, and that the success of the first three wars Tony Blair fought "played to his sense of himself as a moral war leader".


Tony Blair denied that he would have supported the invasion of Iraq even if he had thought Saddam had no weapons of mass destruction.


Tony Blair said he believed the world was safer as a result of the invasion.


Tony Blair was sometimes perceived as paying insufficient attention both to the views of his own Cabinet colleagues and to those of the House of Commons.


Tony Blair was the first UK prime minister to have been formally questioned by police, though not under caution, while still in office.


On 7 September 2006, Tony Blair publicly stated he would step down as leader by the time of the Trades Union Congress conference held from 10 to 13 September 2007, despite promising to serve a full term during the previous general election campaign.


On 10 May 2007, during a speech at the Trimdon Labour Club, Tony Blair announced his intention to resign as both Labour leader and prime minister, triggering a leadership election in which Brown was the only candidate.


At a special party conference in Manchester on 24 June 2007, Tony Blair formally handed over the leadership of the Labour Party to Brown, who had been Chancellor of the Exchequer in Tony Blair's three ministries.


Tony Blair resigned from his Sedgefield seat in the traditional form of accepting the Stewardship of the Chiltern Hundreds, to which he was appointed by Brown in one of the latter's last acts as chancellor; the resulting by-election was won by Labour candidate Phil Wilson.


Tony Blair decided not to issue a list of Resignation Honours, making him the first prime minister of the modern era not to do so.


In 2001, Tony Blair said, "We are a left of centre party, pursuing economic prosperity and social justice as partners and not as opposites".


Tony Blair rarely applies such labels to himself, but he promised before the 1997 election that New Labour would govern "from the radical centre", and according to one lifelong Labour Party member, has always described himself as a social democrat.


The Financial Times on the other hand has argued that Tony Blair is not conservative, but instead a populist.


Some left-wing critics, such as Mike Marqusee in 2001, argued that Tony Blair oversaw the final stage of a long term shift of the Labour Party to the right.


Tony Blair introduced significant constitutional reforms; promoted new rights for gay people; and signed treaties integrating Britain more closely with the EU.


Tony Blair introduced substantial market-based reforms in the education and health sectors; introduced student tuition fees; introduced a welfare to work scheme and sought to reduce certain categories of welfare payments.


Tony Blair criticised other governments for not doing enough to solve global climate change.


Tony Blair forged friendships with several European leaders, including Silvio Berlusconi of Italy, Angela Merkel of Germany and later Nicolas Sarkozy of France.


Tony Blair argued it was in Britain's interest to "protect and strengthen the bond" with the United States regardless of who is in the White House.


On 30 January 2003, Tony Blair signed The letter of the eight supporting US policy on Iraq.


Tony Blair showed a deep feeling for Israel, born in part from his faith.


Tony Blair has been a longtime member of the pro-Israel lobby group Labour Friends of Israel.


In 1994, Tony Blair forged close ties with Michael Levy, a leader of the Jewish Leadership Council.


Tony Blair, on coming to office, had been "cool towards the right-wing Netanyahu government".


From 2001, Tony Blair built up a relationship with Barak's successor, Ariel Sharon, and responded positively to Arafat, whom he had met thirteen times since becoming prime minister and regarded as essential to future negotiations.


In 2006 Tony Blair was criticised for his failure to immediately call for a ceasefire in the 2006 Lebanon War.


The Observer newspaper claimed that at a cabinet meeting before Tony Blair left for a summit with Bush on 28 July 2006, a significant number of ministers pressured Tony Blair to publicly criticise Israel over the scale of deaths and destruction in Lebanon.


The documents showed Tony Blair was willing to appear alongside Assad at a joint press conference even though the Syrians would probably have settled for a farewell handshake for the cameras; British officials sought to manipulate the media to portray Assad in a favourable light; and Tony Blair's aides tried to help Assad's "photogenic" wife Asma al-Assad boost her profile.


Tony Blair had been on friendly terms with Colonel Gaddafi, the leader of Libya, when sanctions imposed on the country were lifted by the US and the UK.


Tony Blair had an antagonistic relationship with Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and allegedly planned regime change against Mugabe in the early 2000s.


General Charles Guthrie, the Chief of the Defence Staff, revealed in 2007 that he and Tony Blair had discussed the invasion of Zimbabwe.


Tony Blair went on a trip to Moscow to watch a performance of the War and Peace opera with Vladimir Putin, while he was the acting president of Russia.


Dearlove alleged that in 2000, a KGB officer approached him, seeking Britain's help in boosting Putin's political profile, and this was why Tony Blair met Putin in Russia.


Tony Blair hosted Putin in London in April 2000, despite hesitation towards Putin from other world leaders, and opposition from human rights groups over atrocities committed in Chechnya.


Tony Blair was reported by The Guardian in 2006 to have been supported politically by Rupert Murdoch, the founder of the News Corporation organisation.


In 2011, Tony Blair became godfather to one of Rupert Murdoch's children with Wendi Deng, but he and Murdoch later ended their friendship, in 2014, after Murdoch suspected him of having an affair with Deng while they were still married, according to The Economist magazine.


Between January 2003 and February 2004, Tony Blair had three meetings with Richard Desmond; on 29 January and 3 September 2003 and 23 February 2004.


Tony Blair appeared before the Leveson Inquiry on Monday 28 May 2012.


Tony Blair has been noted as a charismatic, articulate speaker with an informal style.


Brown, who considered himself the senior of the two, understood that Tony Blair would give way to him: opinion polls soon indicated that Tony Blair appeared to enjoy greater support among voters.


On 27 June 2007, Tony Blair officially resigned as prime minister after ten years in office, and he was officially confirmed as Middle East envoy for the United Nations, European Union, United States, and Russia.


Tony Blair originally indicated that he would retain his parliamentary seat after his resignation as prime minister came into effect; however, on being confirmed for the Middle East role he resigned from the Commons by taking up an office of profit.


President George W Bush had preliminary talks with Blair to ask him to take up the envoy role.


In May 2008 Tony Blair announced a new plan for peace and for Palestinian rights, based heavily on the ideas of the Peace Valley plan.


In January 2008, it was confirmed that Tony Blair would be joining investment bank JPMorgan Chase in a "senior advisory capacity" and that he would advise Zurich Financial Services on climate change.


Tony Blair gives lectures, earning up to US$250,000 for a 90-minute speech, and in 2008 he was said to be the highest paid speaker in the world.


Tony Blair responded to such criticism by saying his choice to advise the country is an example of how he can "nudge controversial figures on a progressive path of reform", and has stated that he receives no personal profit from this advisory role.


Tony Blair was reported to have accepted a business advisory role with President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt, a situation deemed incompatible with his role as Middle East envoy.


In October 2012 Tony Blair's foundation hit controversy when it emerged they were taking on unpaid interns.


In March 2010, it was reported that Tony Blair's memoirs, titled The Journey, would be published in September 2010.


Tony Blair was pelted with eggs and shoes, and encountered an attempted citizen's arrest for war crimes.


Since the Iraq War, Tony Blair has been the subject of war crimes accusations.


In September 2012, Desmond Tutu suggested that Tony Blair should follow the path of former African leaders who had been brought before the International Criminal Court in The Hague.


Tony Blair was supported by Lord Falconer, who stated that the war had been authorised by United Nations Security Council Resolution 1441.


Tony Blair himself has defended his involvement in the Iraq War by highlighting the findings of the Iraq Survey Group, which found that Saddam attempted to lift sanctions by undermining them, which would then enable him to restart his WMD program.


The Chilcot report after the conclusion of the Iraq Inquiry was issued on 6 July 2016 and it criticised Tony Blair for joining the US in the war in Iraq in 2003.


The Tony Blair Institute confirmed that it has received donations from the US State Department and Saudi Arabia.


Tony Blair did not want the UK to leave the EU and called for a referendum on the Brexit withdrawal agreement.


Tony Blair maintained, that once the terms deciding how the UK leaves the EU were known the people should vote again on those terms.


Tony Blair was interviewed in June 2020 for an article in the American magazine The Atlantic on European views of US foreign policy following the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting recession, increased tensions in Sino-American relations, and the George Floyd protests.


Tony Blair affirmed his belief in the continued strength of American soft power and the need to address Iranian military aggression, European defence budgets, and Chinese trade.


Tony Blair admitted mistakes in the management of the war but warned that "the reaction to our mistakes has been, unfortunately, further mistakes".


Tony Blair was a critic of Jeremy Corbyn's leadership of the Labour Party, seeing it as too left-wing.


Tony Blair wrote in an opinion piece for The Guardian during the party's 2015 leadership election that if it elected Corbyn, it would face a "rout, possibly annihilation" at the next election.


Tony Blair said the party needed to shift to the centre on social issues in order to survive.


Tony Blair touched on controversial topics such as transgender rights, the Black Lives Matter movement, climate change and Corbyn's leadership of the party.


Tony Blair's first grandchild was born in October 2016.


In October 2021, Tony Blair was named in the Pandora Papers.


Later on, Tony Blair questioned the Pope's attitude towards homosexuality, arguing that religious leaders must start "rethinking" the issue.


Tony Blair was reprimanded by Cardinal Basil Hume in 1996 for receiving Holy Communion at Mass, while still an Anglican, in contravention of canon law.


On 22 December 2007, it was disclosed that Tony Blair had joined the Catholic Church.


Tony Blair had informed Pope Benedict XVI on 23 June 2007 that he wanted to become a Catholic.


Tony Blair made an animated cameo appearance as himself in The Simpsons episode, "The Regina Monologues".


Tony Blair has appeared as himself at the end of the first episode of The Amazing Mrs Pritchard, a British television series about an unknown housewife becoming prime minister.


On 14 March 2007, Tony Blair appeared as a celebrity judge on Masterchef Goes Large after contestants had to prepare a three-course meal in the Downing Street kitchens for Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern.


On 16 March 2007, Tony Blair featured in a comedy sketch with Catherine Tate, who appeared in the guise of her character Lauren Cooper from The Catherine Tate Show.


When Tony Blair resigned as prime minister, Robert Harris, a former Fleet Street political editor, dropped his other work to write The Ghost.


In 2007, the scenario of a possible war crimes trial for the former British prime minister was satirised by the British broadcaster Channel 4, in a "mockumentary", The Trial of Tony Blair, which concluded with the fictional Blair being dispatched to the Hague.


In May 2007, Tony Blair was invested as a paramount chief by the chiefs and people of the village of Mahera in Sierra Leone.


On 22 May 2008, Tony Blair received an honorary law doctorate from Queen's University Belfast, alongside Bertie Ahern, for distinction in public service and roles in the Northern Ireland peace process.


On 13 January 2009, Blair was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George W Bush.


Bush stated that Tony Blair was given the award "in recognition of exemplary achievement and to convey the utmost esteem of the American people" and cited Tony Blair's support for the War on Terror and his role in achieving peace in Northern Ireland as two reasons for justifying his being presented with the award.


On 16 February 2009, Tony Blair was awarded the Dan David Prize by Tel Aviv University for "exceptional leadership and steadfast determination in helping to engineer agreements and forge lasting solutions to areas in conflict".


On 8 July 2010, Tony Blair was awarded the Order of Freedom by President Fatmir Sejdiu of Kosovo.


On 13 September 2010, Tony Blair was awarded the Liberty Medal at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.


Tony Blair had reportedly indicated when he left office that he did not want the traditional knighthood or peerage bestowed on former prime ministers.


Tony Blair received his Garter insignia on 10 June 2022 from the Queen during an audience at Windsor Castle.