British Prime Minister Tony Blair has rejected suggestions he set a date to resign, following his party's dismal showing in elections last week, and a string of embarrassing scandals.
Mr. Blair has announced at his monthly news conference he has no intention of stepping down any time soon, despite calls from inside his party to fix a date for his departure.
"To state a timetable now would simply paralyze the proper working of government, put at risk the necessary changes we are making for Britain, and, therefore, damage the country," said Mr. Blair. "It would not end this distraction, but take it to a new level."
The prime minister says he remains committed to handing over power eventually to his Treasury chief, Gordon Brown, and in time to prepare for the next general election, which is due by the middle of 2010.
"I have said I will ensure a stable and orderly transition," said Mr. Blair. "I will do it with the time necessary for my successor to establish themselves. But in the meantime, if we want to win a fourth term, we should concentrate on governing, because I think most people out there are fed up with the endless speculation."
Mr. Blair has been the most successful Labor leader in the 100-year history of the party. He has led Labor to three consecutive general-election victories.
But the party suffered badly in local elections in England last week, which came after revelations that more than one-thousand foreign-national convicts had been released from British jails without being deported. It was also learned that Mr. Blair's deputy had carried on an affair with his secretary.
The prime minister responded last Friday by overhauling his Cabinet, including the demotion of Jack Straw from foreign secretary to leader of the House of Commons.
At his news conference, Mr. Blair rejected speculation that Straw was dumped because he had called talk of a U.S. attack on Iran "inconceivable."
"Any notion that it is linked to a decision about invading Iran – which, incidentally, we are not going to do – any notion that it is linked to such a decision is utterly absurd," he said.
It is not clear what Mr. Blair meant when he mentioned an invasion of Iran. Recent media reports on the subject have focused on possible air and missile strikes against Iranian nuclear facilities, not an invasion by ground forces. U.S. officials emphasize that diplomacy has not been exhausted in dealing with Iran's nuclear program.
- resign : (v) If you resign from a job or position, you formally announce that you are leaving it.
- dismal :(adj) Something that is dismal is bad in a sad or depressing way.
- embarrassing : (adj) Something that is embarrassing makes you feel shy or ashamed.
- step down : (ph) If someone steps down or steps aside, they resign from an important job or position, often in order to let someone else take their place.
- paralyse : (v) If someone is paralysed by an accident or an illness, they have no feeling in their body, or in part of their body, and are unable to move.
- distraction : A distraction is something that turns your attention away from something you want to concentrate on.
- fed up : (adj) If you are fed up, you are unhappy, bored, or tired of something, especially something that you have been experiencing for a long time
- speculation : (n) The President has gone out of his way to dismiss
- Labor : 영국 노동당
- revelations : A revelation is a surprising or interesting fact that is made known to people.
- convict : (v) If someone is convicted of a crime, they are found guilty of that crime in a law court.
- deport : (v) If a government deports someone, usually someone who is not a citizen of that country, it sends them out of the country because they have committed a crime or because it believes they do not have the right to be there.
- deputy : (N) A deputy is the second most important person in an organization such as a business or government department. Someone's deputy often acts on their behalf when they are not there.
- carried on an affair : 바람을 피다.
- overhauling his Cabinet : 개각을 단행하다.
- the House of Commons : 영국 하원 (N) The House of Commons is the part of parliament in Britain or Canada whose members are elected. The building where they meet is also called the House of Commons.
- inconceivable : (adj) If you describe something as inconceivable, you think it is very unlikely to happen or be true.
- diplomacy : (N-UNCOUNT) Diplomacy is the activity or profession of managing relations between the governments of different countries.