132 Facts About Tony Blair

1.

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

FactSnippet No. 660,193
2.

Tony Blair has been the executive chairman of the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change since 2016.

FactSnippet No. 660,194
3.

Tony Blair is one of only two Labour leaders to form three majority governments, the other being Harold Wilson.

FactSnippet No. 660,195
4.

Tony Blair became involved in Labour politics and was elected Member of Parliament for Sedgefield in 1983.

FactSnippet No. 660,196
5.

Tony Blair supported moving the party to the centre of British politics in an attempt to help it win power .

FactSnippet No. 660,197
6.

Tony Blair was appointed to the party's frontbench in 1988 and became shadow home secretary in 1992.

FactSnippet No. 660,198
7.

Tony Blair became Leader of the Opposition on his election as Labour Party leader in 1994, following the sudden death of his predecessor, John Smith.

FactSnippet No. 660,199
8.

Tony Blair became the country's youngest leader since 1812 and remains the party's longest-serving occupant of the office.

FactSnippet No. 660,200
9.

Tony Blair resigned as prime minister and Labour Party leader in 2007 and was succeeded by Gordon Brown, who had been his chancellor of the Exchequer since 1997.

FactSnippet No. 660,201
10.

Tony Blair's governments enacted constitutional reforms, removing most hereditary peers from the House of Lords, while establishing the UK's Supreme Court and reforming the office of lord chancellor .

FactSnippet No. 660,202
11.

Tony Blair's government held referendums in which Scottish and Welsh electorates voted in favour of devolved administration, paving the way for the establishment of the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly in 1999.

FactSnippet No. 660,203
12.

Tony Blair was involved in negotiating the Good Friday Agreement.

FactSnippet No. 660,204
13.

Tony Blair championed multiculturalism and, between 1997 and 2007, immigration rose considerably, especially after his government welcomed immigration from the new EU member states in 2004.

FactSnippet No. 660,205
14.

Tony Blair declared himself "tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime" and oversaw increasing incarceration rates and new anti-social behaviour legislation, despite contradictory evidence about the change in crime rates.

FactSnippet No. 660,206
15.

Tony Blair oversaw British interventions in Kosovo and Sierra Leone, which were generally perceived as successful.

FactSnippet No. 660,207
16.

Tony Blair argued that the Saddam Hussein regime possessed an active weapons of mass destruction program, but no stockpiles of WMDs or an active WMD program were ever found in Iraq.

FactSnippet No. 660,208
17.

Tony Blair's legacy remains controversial, not least because of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.

FactSnippet No. 660,209
18.

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

FactSnippet No. 660,210
19.

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.

FactSnippet No. 660,211
20.

Tony Blair has an older brother, Sir William Tony Blair, a High Court judge, and a younger sister, Sarah.

FactSnippet No. 660,212
21.

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

FactSnippet No. 660,213
22.

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

FactSnippet No. 660,214
23.

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

FactSnippet No. 660,215
24.

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

FactSnippet No. 660,216
25.

Tony Blair graduated from Oxford at the age of 22 in 1975 with a second-class Honours B A in jurisprudence.

FactSnippet No. 660,217
26.

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

FactSnippet No. 660,218
27.

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

FactSnippet No. 660,219
28.

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

FactSnippet No. 660,220
29.

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

FactSnippet No. 660,221
30.

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.

FactSnippet No. 660,222
31.

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.

FactSnippet No. 660,223
32.

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.

FactSnippet No. 660,224
33.

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.

FactSnippet No. 660,225
34.

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.

FactSnippet No. 660,226
35.

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

FactSnippet No. 660,227
36.

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

FactSnippet No. 660,228
37.

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

FactSnippet No. 660,229
38.

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

FactSnippet No. 660,230
39.

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

FactSnippet No. 660,231
40.

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

FactSnippet No. 660,232
41.

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.

FactSnippet No. 660,233
42.

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.

FactSnippet No. 660,234
43.

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

FactSnippet No. 660,235
44.

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.

FactSnippet No. 660,236
45.

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

FactSnippet No. 660,237
46.

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

FactSnippet No. 660,238
47.

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.

FactSnippet No. 660,239
48.

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.

FactSnippet No. 660,240
49.

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".

FactSnippet No. 660,241
50.

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

FactSnippet No. 660,242
51.

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

FactSnippet No. 660,243
52.

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.

FactSnippet No. 660,244
53.

Tony Blair's style was sometimes criticised as not that of a prime minister and head of government, which he was, but of a president and head of state – which he was not.

FactSnippet No. 660,245
54.

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

FactSnippet No. 660,246
55.

On 10 May 2007, during a speech at the Trimdon Labour Club, Tony Blair announced his intention to resign as both Labour Party leader and prime minister.

FactSnippet No. 660,247
56.

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

FactSnippet No. 660,248
57.

Tony Blair tendered his resignation on 27 June 2007 and Brown assumed office during the same afternoon.

FactSnippet No. 660,249
58.

Tony Blair resigned from his Sedgefield seat in the House of Commons in the traditional form of accepting the Stewardship of the Chiltern Hundreds, to which he was appointed by Gordon Brown in one of the latter's last acts as Chancellor of the Exchequer.

FactSnippet No. 660,250
59.

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.

FactSnippet No. 660,251
60.

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

FactSnippet No. 660,252
61.

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.

FactSnippet No. 660,253
62.

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.

FactSnippet No. 660,254
63.

Tony Blair increased police powers by adding to the number of arrestable offences, compulsory DNA recording and the use of dispersal orders.

FactSnippet No. 660,255
64.

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

FactSnippet No. 660,256
65.

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

FactSnippet No. 660,257
66.

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

FactSnippet No. 660,258
67.

Alliance between Bush and Tony Blair seriously damaged Tony Blair's standing in the eyes of Britons angry at American influence.

FactSnippet No. 660,259
68.

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.

FactSnippet No. 660,260
69.

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

FactSnippet No. 660,261
70.

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

FactSnippet No. 660,262
71.

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

FactSnippet No. 660,263
72.

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

FactSnippet No. 660,264
73.

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

FactSnippet No. 660,265
74.

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.

FactSnippet No. 660,266
75.

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

FactSnippet No. 660,267
76.

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.

FactSnippet No. 660,268
77.

Freedom of Information request by The Sunday Times in 2012 revealed that Tony Blair's government considered knighting Syria's President Bashar al-Assad.

FactSnippet No. 660,269
78.

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.

FactSnippet No. 660,270
79.

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.

FactSnippet No. 660,271
80.

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

FactSnippet No. 660,272
81.

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.

FactSnippet No. 660,273
82.

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.

FactSnippet No. 660,274
83.

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

FactSnippet No. 660,275
84.

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.

FactSnippet No. 660,276
85.

Cabinet Office freedom of information response, released the day after Tony Blair handed over power to Gordon Brown, documents Tony Blair having various official phone calls and meetings with Rupert Murdoch of News Corporation and Richard Desmond of Northern and Shell Media.

FactSnippet No. 660,277
86.

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.

FactSnippet No. 660,278
87.

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

FactSnippet No. 660,279
88.

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

FactSnippet No. 660,280
89.

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.

FactSnippet No. 660,281
90.

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.

FactSnippet No. 660,282
91.

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.

FactSnippet No. 660,283
92.

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.

FactSnippet No. 660,284
93.

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.

FactSnippet No. 660,285
94.

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.

FactSnippet No. 660,286
95.

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.

FactSnippet No. 660,287
96.

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

FactSnippet No. 660,288
97.

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

FactSnippet No. 660,289
98.

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

FactSnippet No. 660,290
99.

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.

FactSnippet No. 660,291
100.

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

FactSnippet No. 660,292
101.

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

FactSnippet No. 660,293
102.

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

FactSnippet No. 660,294
103.

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

FactSnippet No. 660,295
104.

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.

FactSnippet No. 660,296
105.

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

FactSnippet No. 660,297
106.

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

FactSnippet No. 660,298
107.

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.

FactSnippet No. 660,299
108.

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

FactSnippet No. 660,300
109.

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

FactSnippet No. 660,301
110.

Tony Blair married Cherie Booth, a Catholic, who would later become a Queen's Counsel, on 29 March 1980.

FactSnippet No. 660,302
111.

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

FactSnippet No. 660,303
112.

Tony Blair stated in 2014 that he was worth "less than £20 million".

FactSnippet No. 660,304
113.

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

FactSnippet No. 660,305
114.

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.

FactSnippet No. 660,306
115.

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

FactSnippet No. 660,307
116.

In 2014, Vanity Fair and The Economist published allegations that Tony Blair had had an extramarital affair with Wendi Deng, who was then married to Rupert Murdoch.

FactSnippet No. 660,308
117.

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

FactSnippet No. 660,309
118.

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.

FactSnippet No. 660,310
119.

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.

FactSnippet No. 660,311
120.

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.

FactSnippet No. 660,312
121.

Tony Blair was portrayed by James Larkin in The Government Inspector, and by Ioan Gruffudd in W .

FactSnippet No. 660,313
122.

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

FactSnippet No. 660,314
123.

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.

FactSnippet No. 660,315
124.

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

FactSnippet No. 660,316
125.

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.

FactSnippet No. 660,317
126.

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

FactSnippet No. 660,318
127.

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.

FactSnippet No. 660,319
128.

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".

FactSnippet No. 660,320
129.

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

FactSnippet No. 660,321
130.

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

FactSnippet No. 660,322
131.

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

FactSnippet No. 660,323
132.

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

FactSnippet No. 660,324