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A paraphrasing of what Tony Blair has just said…

I apologise for the last week on behalf of the Labour Party – not our finest hour given what is going on in the world.

I would have preferred to do this in my own way but the next Party Conference will be my last as leader – the next TUC conference will be my last, too, and neither of us will mind that.

I am not going to set a precise date now.  The precise timetable has to be left open to me.

The Labour Party must understand that the public must come first.  We cannot treat the public as irrelevant bystanders in who is their Prime Minister.

Interesting that he said nothing about Gordon Brown.  My guess is that the Blairites might now seek to undermine Brown at every turn given the role of Brownites in recent days.

3.30pm: The BBC’s verbatim transcript.

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7pm update:
David Cameron has issued the following statement: "We’re in a situation that is frankly shambolic and deeply unsatisfactory. We’ve got a government whose senior members are questioning each others’ judgment and have been at war with each other effectively for a fortnight.  At a time when we’ve got British troops serving overseas; we’ve got terror threats at home; huge issues we need to deal with in our own country. What’s happened today isn’t going to end the uncertainty. I think it will probably only add to the paralysis. And frankly Britain deserves better than this.  What we need is not some ‘deal’ – we need a new Government that can have the vision and leadership for a strong future for this country.”

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