The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Surprise prize for Blair

London, Nov. 22: Tony Blair was named Parliamentarian of the Year by The Spectator magazine yesterday.

The decision surprised many political observers as Blair has been accused of sidelining Parliament since he came to power in 1997. One of his first acts was to abandon the twice-weekly Prime Minister’s Question Time session in favour of one half-hour session on Wednesdays. However, Blair has since declared that he wants to revive the role of Parliament and has promised to make more government announcements in the Commons rather than through outside press conferences.

The award was made by a panel of political journalists chaired by Boris Johnson, the magazine’s editor.

Johnson told the award ceremony there was a degree of embarrassment for him in announcing the award.

But it was hard to think of another party leader who, for eight years, “has exercised such an unchallenged dominance of the political landscape”. Time after time the Labour benches threatened to rebel, but he quelled them. “This is the politician who opposed the Falklands war but who has now sent British forces overseas twice on successful engagements.”

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