Downing Street denies Blair MP resignation reports

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Downing Street has denied reports suggesting that Tony Blair will tell his local party next week that he will stand down as their MP as soon as he quits as prime minister.

A report from the Press Association said that Mr Blair will travel to Trimdon Labour Club in his constituency of Sedgefield to make the announcement, triggering an immediate by-election.

There has been a great deal of debate about whether Mr Blair will sit on the backbenches after he leaves Downing Street.

A Downing Street spokesman said: "The only announcement the prime minister will be making next week regards his future as leader of the Labour party."

He added that Mr Blair hasn't decided whether this announcement will take place in London, Sedgefield - where the prime minister announced he was running for leader - or elsewhere.

But sources close to the prime minister suggest that he will be visiting Sedgefield next week, when Mr Blair has said he will be making an announcement about his future.

When the prime minister steps down, a 48-day process to elect a new Labour leader will begin with the chancellor Gordon Brown widely expected to win the contest at a canter.

Labour will face its last electoral test under Mr Blair today as voters go to the polls in Scottish parliament, Welsh Assembly and local town hall elections.

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