Paper: Blair set to end ten year reign as British PM on May 9th
British Prime Minister Tony Blair will step down on May 9th, reports the Sunday Mail.
The decision, according to the paper, was made to preempt any charges in the "cash for honors" scandal.
"That will trigger a seven-week leadership election process in the Labour Party and a new PM – probably Gordon Brown – will move into 10 Downing Street at the end of June," writes Rob Gibson.
The Crown Prosecution Service is unlikely to make a decision about whether to bring criminal charges against some of Blair's aides for allegedly taking kickbacks, despite ample evidence to do so, until Blair leaves office, reported the paper.
The Mail quotes an anonymous Labour MP who says that Blair will leave office on May 9th, as the Northern Ireland Executives take power.
"He wants to go out on a high note, not wait around to hear if or when the CPS are going to prosecute any of his friends," the MP is quoted. "That would be the worst possible way to bow out."
Blair's heir-apparent, Chancellor Gordon Brown, would be expected to take power in June.
While most are in agreement that Brown will be Blair's successor as Prime Minister, there is disagreement over what Brown will bring to Downing Street.
"Conservatives have been busy over the last few years predicting that Brown will swing Labour to the left, ushering in a period of business-unfriendly, bureaucratic centralization," notes the Press Association, even though Brown has voiced support for nuclear power, nuclear weapons as a deterrent, and calls for a "Britishness day."