CNN Editorial Research
Here’s a look at the life of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
Birth date: May 6, 1953
Birth place: Edinburgh, Scotland
Birth name: Anthony Charles Lynton Blair
Father: Leo Charles Blair, lawyer
Mother: Hazel (Corscadden) Blair
Marriage: Cherie (Booth) Blair (1980-present)
Children: Leo, Kathryn, Nicholas and Euan
Education: St. John’s College, Oxford, B.A., 1975
Religion: Roman Catholic
Although born in Scotland, Blair spent most of his childhood in Durham, England.
His son, Leo, was the first baby born to a serving prime minister in 150 years.
In his youth, acted in plays and sang in a rock band.
Blair moved the Labour Party to a more centrist position by reducing influence of trade unions and dropping the Party’s goal of “collective ownership.”
The Labour Party’s first prime minister to serve two successive terms.
1976-1983 – After finishing his law studies at Oxford, practices as a barrister in London.
1982 – Loses an attempt to win a seat in parliament for the district of Beaconsfield.
1983 – Wins a seat in parliament for Sedgefield, near Durham.
1984-1988 – Front bench spokesman for Labour Party.
1988 – Is promoted to the shadow cabinet as shadow secretary of energy. The shadow party is the main opposition party that monitors and polices the official cabinet.
1992 – Is appointed shadow home secretary.
July 21, 1994 – Becomes the youngest leader of the Labour Party after previous leader John Smith dies of a heart attack.
May 1997 – Blair leads the Labour Party to win 419 seats in the House of Commons and its first electoral victory since 1979. Blair becomes prime minister, succeeding John Major.
June 7, 2001 – Reelected.
October 19, 2003 – Blair is hospitalized after suffering irregular heart rhythms.
May 5, 2005 – Reelected to a third term.
December 14, 2006 – Blair becomes the first serving prime minister questioned as part of a criminal inquiry; police speak with Blair regarding a “cash for honors” inquiry, in which political parties are accused of loans from donors in return for political appointments. Blair is questioned as a witness.
May 3, 2007 – Blair’s Labour party suffers losses in local elections in England as well as national elections in Scotland and Wales.
May 10, 2007 – Blair announces he will resign in June.
June 24, 2007 – Blair hands over leadership of the Labour Party to Gordon Brown during a conference of party members. Brown will become prime minister when Blair tenders his resignation to the Queen.
June 27, 2007 – Tenders his resignation to Queen Elizabeth. Hours later, Blair is appointed by the Quartet (the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations) as special envoy to the Middle East.
2008 – Establishes the Africa Governance Initiative.
March 7, 2008 – Yale University announces that Blair has been named the Howland Distinguished Fellow for the 2008-2009 school year. He will participate in seminars and on-campus activities throughout the year.
May 30, 2008 – Blair launches The Tony Blair Faith Foundation. Its goal is to encourage “inter-faith initiatives to tackle global poverty and to improve understanding of the great religions through education at every level.”
January 13, 2009 – Is awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by US President George W. Bush.
February 2009 – Opens an economic and political consulting firm called Tony Blair Associates.
January 29, 2010 – Blair is questioned by Britain’s Iraq Inquiry about decisions he made leading up to the US-led invasion of Iraq. Blair defends his decision to support the war.
September 1, 2010 – Publishes his memoir, “A Journey.”
January 21, 2011 – Blair testifies before the Iraq Inquiry for a second time to clear up inconsistencies in his previous testimony.
October 25, 2015 – On CNN’s Fareed Zakaria GPS, Blair says he’s sorry for “mistakes” made in the US-led invasion of Iraq, but he doesn’t regret bringing down dictator Saddam Hussein.
July 6, 2016 – The results of the UK’s inquiry into the invasion of Iraq are released. The report finds that the war was based on flawed intelligence and was launched before diplomatic options were exhausted. Chairman John Chilcot says Blair was warned of the risks of regional instability and the rise of terrorism before the invasion of Iraq, but pressed on regardless.
December 31, 2021 – It is announced that Blair is being appointed a Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter.
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