TONY Blair is set to tell his local Labour Party next week that he aims to stand down as an MP as soon as he leaves Number 10, triggering an immediate by-election, sources said today.
Speculation was mounting that Mr Blair will travel to Trimdon Labour Club in his Sedgefield constituency a week tomorrow to make the dramatic announcement.
There has been speculation in recent months that Mr Blair will sit on the backbenches with a number of reports suggesting he will stand down before the next General Election, or possibly this autumn at Labour's annual conference.
But he is believed to have told a handful of close friends he has now decided to quit as an MP as soon as possible.
Mr Blair has already announced his intention to stand down as Prime Minister but he has yet to set a date.