It also emerged yesterday that Mr Blair was prevented by his advisers from ending his address to the nation at the start of hostilities in Iraq with the message: ...."God bless you."
While having make-up applied for his screen appearance on the eve of hostilities in Iraq, the Prime Minister reportedly told his staff: "I want to end with, 'God bless you'."
At this point, according to The Times article, there was "a noisy team revolt in which every player appears to be complaining at once". Staff said that this was "not a good idea", to which an irritated Mr Blair - raising his voice - responded: "Oh no?"
One unidentified member of the Blair team reportedly replied: "You are talking to lots of people who don't want chaplains pushing stuff down their throats."
When the Prime Minister responded by saying:
In the end, however, the religious phrase was not used and
the message ended with a simple "Thank you". According to The Times article,
Mr Blair also said that he was ready to "meet his Maker" and account for
his decision to go to war in Iraq.
The Prime Minister made this declaration of faith on April 2, the day after seven Iraqi women and children were shot dead by United States soldiers at a checkpoint.
Asked how he responded to the deaths, Mr Blair said: "It really gets to you." He added, however, that he was ready to answer before God for "those who have died or have been horribly maimed as a result of my decisions".
Mr Blair reportedly accepted that others who believe in "the same God" may assess that the final judgment will be against him.
Asked by Vanity Fair whether he had discussed religion with
President Bush, Mr Blair said: "I can't say it's something we've discussed,
but it's something we share."By Colin Brown, Political Editor
In an interview with Michael Parkinson broadcast on ITV1 on 4 March 2006, Blair referred to the influence of his Christian faith on his decision to go to war in Iraq, stating that he had prayed about the issue, and saying that God would judge him for his decision : "I think if you have faith about these things, you realise that judgement is made by other people … and if you believe in God, it's made by God as well."
He has been leader of the Labour Party since July 1994, following the sudden death of John Smith in 1994 of a heart attack.
UK: Tony Blair's pact with God In a "major break with British traditions
that religion and government should ... of the faith communities in policy-making
and delivery across Whitehall ...
He tried to avoid revealing them prematurely, because he was weary about
the public response. But they have leaked out in a written parliamentary
reply and were picked up by The Observer. Blair is reportedly all set
to broom out to invite God to the center stage of policy making. In a
"major break with British traditions that religion and government
should not mix", according to The Observer, he has appointed a religious
body, representing Christian and other religious faith groups, as high-power
advisory committee to the British Government. The "Faith Community
Liaison Group" is part of the Home Office. Its sphere of influence
includes officially the Department of Education, Culture, Media, Sport,
Trade and Industry.