June 27, 2007
Every Wednesday for the past ten years, Prime Minister Tony Blair has taken his weekly public whipping at the Houses of Parliament.
But on his last day in office, it was a downright lovefest. Even the
opposition leader could hardly contain himself.
"Can I say, on behalf of my party that we wish him, his family well" said David Cameron, conservative party leader.
Blair expressed his sorrow for fallen soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, but offered no apology in backing the U.S. in taking military action.
Still, he used the occasion to announce more troops cuts in Iraq, reducing the British force there to 5,000.
And when it finally came time to say farewell, the Prime Minister appeared to choke up a bit.
"I wish everyone friend or foe well, and that is that, the end" said Blair.
And then, something that never happens, a standing ovation from the entire house.
The prime minister may have bid farewell to friend and foe but like any
employee, no resignation is official until you hand it in to the boss. In
Blair's case, the Majesty, the Queen.
Blair met with her for about a half hour.
Then, the queen summoned Blair's successor, Gordon Brown to the palace, where he was formally confirmed as the next Prime Minister.
Blair now takes on the tough new post as the top peacemaking envoy to the Middle East.
His role as prime minister has ended its run, but Tony Blair, diplomat, will remain firmly at the center of the world stage.