Statement following Tony Blair's Resignation

10/05/2007

I fundamentally disagreed with Tony Blair over the invasion of Iraq – which I saw as a breach of international law – but disagreement is part of the free and fair society which he has endeavoured to uphold during his time in office. 

Tony Blair always welcomed what he termed "prophetic wisdom" from the Church on matters of state, even where such wisdom took the form of criticism or disagreement. 

Such disagreement should not detract from many of the remarkable things Tony Blair has achieved in office, not least among which was the peace settlement in Northern Ireland, where he ensured that past prejudices and failures were not allowed to get in the way of constructive dialogue and peace. 

I have particularly appreciated Tony Blair's keen awareness that it is unwise and unwelcome to separate law from morality and religion. 

Tony Blair has been committed to righting many of the wrongs he inherited during his first term, not least in the establishment of the Stephen Lawrence inquiry and his concerted attempts to alleviate poverty in the UK and abroad. He has also overseen increased levels of investment in health and education. 

Like Napoleon he has fought on so many fronts that his activism and over-reliance on legislation and regulation have meant that fewer things have been achieved than may otherwise have been the case. 

I am grateful to him for the energy and drive which he has brought to the Government and to the country. He has tried his best and that is what God asks of each of us. I wish him, his wife and his family every blessing for the future