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Reports: Tony Blair to Resign from Labor Party First, Premiership Second


A British tabloid says Prime Minister Tony Blair will resign from his Labor Party on May 31 and end his premiership eight weeks later.

London's The Sun newspaper reports Wednesday Mr. Blair will leave office July 26 after his party elects a new leader. His finance minister, Gordon Brown, is expected to take his place.

Tom Watson, a junior defense minister, resigned Wednesday to protest Mr. Blair's decision to remain in office. Some members of the Labor Party had called on the prime minister to resign immediately.

On Tuesday, The Daily Mirror newspaper printed excerpts of what it called a leaked memo in which Mr. Blair's advisers plan an extravagant farewell tour for him.

Environment Secretary David Miliband told British radio Tuesday Mr. Blair plans to resign within a year.

The prime minister's popularity has waned amid controversy about the war in Iraq, and a string of government scandals. He has already said he will not run for a fourth term.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.