#1
Gordon Brown is new British Prime Minister

By George Jones, Political Editor, and Matthew Moore
27/06/2007
The Telegraph

360 degree view of the Blairs leaving Downing Street - www.telegraph.co.uk/ETHtml/co..._blair02.jhtml (external - login to view)


Grumpy Gordon is Britain's 52nd Prime Minister


Gordon Brown has promised to lead a "new government of new priorities" after being formally confirmed as Prime Minister.


In power: Gordon Brown with his wife Sarah Mr Brown was invited to form a new government by the Queen this afternoon after Tony Blair submitted his resignation at Buckingham Palace.



Outside his new home at No 10 Downing Street, Mr Brown pledged to create "a government of all the talents", in a hint that his first Cabinet may include figures from outside the Labour party.

Accompanied by his wife Sarah, he told the assembled reporters: "I will heed the need for change. This need for change cannot be met by old politics."

Mr Brown left Buckingham Palace at 2.47pm following a 55-minute audience with the monarch - a much longer meeting than had been expected.

He is expected to begin naming his cabinet later today, with Alistair Darling widely tipped to become the new Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Mr Blair submitted his resignation to the Queen earlier this afternoon after receiving an unprecedented standing ovation from MPs at the end of his final Prime Minister's questions.

Labour MPs rose and applauded after the 30-minute session, which saw Mr Blair cracking jokes - even admitting he had received his P45. Margaret Beckett, the Foreign Secretary, was in tears.

Following a vintage Commons performance Mr Blair set off for Downing Street to say an emotional farewell to his staff, and from there to Buckingham Palace, where he formally resigned as head of the government.

After Mr Blair's final words in the Commons - "I wish everyone, friend or foe, well, and that is that. The end" - Tory MPs seemed uncertain how to react.

But many got to their feet after David Cameron stood up and urged them to join in.

A number of Tories, however, still refused to clap their hands - a show of approval that was regarded as "unparliamentary" until the arrival of New Labour.




Mr Blair began the session by saying he was "truly sorry'' for the dangers faced by Britain's armed forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.

But, in his last appearance at the Commons despatch box after 10 years in power, he again defended his actions over the Iraq war. ''I know some may think they face these dangers in vain. I don't and I never will.

'I believe they are fighting for the security of this country in the wider world against people who would destroy our way of life.''

Mr Blair's impromptu statement at the start of question time came after he was given a rousing farewell cheer by his backbenchers in a crowded House.

In the visitors gallery watching were his wife Cherie and three of their children - including seven year old Leo who was born during the Blair premiership.

Mr Cameron paid tribute to Mr Blair's "remarkable achievement of being Prime Minister for 10 years'' and the "huge efforts you have made in terms of public service''.

The Tory leader cast aside normal party political attacks to praise Mr Blair's "considerable achievements'' progress in Northern Ireland and the developing world.

He concluded by wishing the Prime Minister "every success whatever you do in future'.

Liberal Democrat leader Sir Menzies Campbell said that, despite their political disagreements, Mr Blair had been "unfailingly courteous'' and extended his party's best wishes to the departing Prime Minister and his family.

The biggest laugh came when a prominent Tory Eurosceptic, Sir Nicholas Winteron, called on Mr Blair, to live up to his election promise to hold a referendum on a new treaty reviving the EU constitution.


On the left of Tony Blair, in a photo taken a few hours ago on Blair's last day in the Commons before he quits British politics, is the now Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott. On the right is the the then Chancellor, now new Prime Minister.

Video: Tony Blair's final speech to the Commons (external - login to view)

Mr Blair refused, and underlined his support for the EU by adding: "Au revoir, auf wiedersehen and arrivederci".

Earlier, Mr Blair had broken the subdued mood in Parliament by telling MPs of an urgent letter which arrived by post yesterday at No 10.

"Details of employee leaving work. Surname: Blair; first name: T. It said actually: Mr, Mrs, Miss or other. This form is important to you, take good care of it, P45," he read to laughter.

Mr Blair, Labour's most successful leader after an unprecedented three election victories, making him - alongside Margaret Thatcher - one of the dominant political figures since the war, will now go to his Sedgefield constituency to confirm his decision to resign immediately as an MP, triggering a by-election.

He will become the Special Representative to the Middle East, acting for the United States, the United Nations, the European Union and Russia.


dailymail.co.uk