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Tony Blair (Anthony Charles Lynton Blair) the UK's former Prime Minister, first came to prominence when he became leader of the Labour Party upon the death of his predecessor, John Smith, in 1994.

By the time of the General Election of 1997 the party had been in opposition for seventeen years but, under Blair's stewardship, Labour won a landslide victory, giving them one of the largest parliamentary majorities in British history.

Educated at one of Scotland's most prestigious grammar schools, Tony Blair then attended Oxford University and eventually went on to become MP for Sedgefield in the north east of England.

Upon becoming Labour leader Blair, alongside Gordon Brown and Peter Mandelson, set about moving the party from its left-wing roots to a more free-market-based philosophy, calling the 'new' party "New Labour". In 2005 Blair announced he would not serve out a full term and went on to stand down in June 2007.

Under Blair's premiership the country has seen unprecedented investment in the public services - especially education and health - and the introduction of the Minimum Wage.

Blair's government has also overseen major constitutional changes, such as the devolution of Wales and Scotland (both now have their own Assemblies), and significant progress has also been made in securing a lasting peace in Northern Ireland.

Since the events of September 11, Tony Blair has been a staunch supporter of George Bush's 'War on Terror', committing troops to controversial wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

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