World News

FACTBOX - Tony Blair's new job

(Reuters) - Tony Blair was named the new Middle East envoy for the international Quartet on Wednesday, hours after he stepped down as prime minister.

Here are a few facts about Blair:

* Blair, 54, is the Labour Party’s longest-serving prime minister and the only one to have led the party to three consecutive general election victories. He will be remembered for helping to bring peace to Northern Ireland and sending troops to Iraq, despite opposition from the public and members of his party. The economy has thrived under his premiership.

* Born in Edinburgh on May 6, 1953, he spent most of his early years in Durham. Blair was educated at an exclusive boarding school in Scotland but disliked it so much that at the age of 14 he tried to run away. He studied law at Oxford University and trained as a barrister in London.

* At university, Blair played guitar and sang in a rock band called the Ugly Rumours. He also dated Canadian film director Mary Harron, who went on to make the movie “American Pyscho”.

* Blair’s ability to connect with the electorate and work his media magic was sealed in 1997, following the death of Princess Diana, when he called her “the people’s princess” and delivered the line with convincing sincerity.

* After the September 11 attacks on the United States, Blair declared that he stood “shoulder to shoulder” with America, and hitched his future to its new president, George W. Bush. The leaders formed a bond and at one meeting announced they even shared the same brand of toothpaste.

* Blair has four children with his wife Cherie Booth, who is a successful barrister. The youngest was born during Blair’s premiership. Cherie was raised a devout Roman Catholic and Blair, an Anglican, is also religious.