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Tony Blair's father - an interesting journey

Tony Blair’s father Leo, who died today, was a man with a remarkable life story.

  • He was given up for fostering by his parents – who were travelling performers - aged three months.
  • He left school at 14 and joined the Young Communist League.
  • He served in the Army in the Second World War.
  • After the war he studied law in his spare time to become a barrister and later a law lecturer in Australia and at Durham University.
  • He rose to chair the Durham Conservative Association and had aspirations to become a Tory MP.
  • After his son became Labour leader, he joined the party shortly after.
  • He sent a letter of congratulations to him on becoming PM - only to get a reply from Downing Street saying his idea was not something that No 10 could take up.

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Blair: 'I was privileged to have him as a Dad'

Tony Blair has released a statement about his "remarkable" father Leo, who has died aged 89:

He was a remarkable man.

Raised in a poor part of Glasgow, he worked his way up from nothing, with great ambitions dashed by serious illness on the very brink of their fulfilment.

He lost my mother, whom he adored, when she was still young.

Yet despite it all he remained animated by an extraordinary spirit that was in him until the end.

I was privileged to have him as a Dad.

Blair pulled out of an event after father taken seriously ill

Tony Blair pulled out of an event in central London with former US President Bill Clinton last night after his father Leo was taken seriously ill.

The Times political reporter Laura Pitel reported yesterday that a message was read out on behalf of Mr Blair which said: "My father has been taken seriously ill and I wanted to be with him."

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