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23 March 2022

Former prime minister speaks to King's students

Sir Tony Blair delivered a special session for students taking modules offered by the Strand Group at King's College London.

Tony Blair with students at King's. Picture: STRAND GROUP

The former Prime Minister spent an hour answering questions from students on the modules: The History of the Prime Minister 1979-2019 - in partnership with No.10 Downing Street, The Blair Years and from the undergraduate module, Prime Ministers and Leadership since Thatcher.

Introduced by The Independent's chief political commentator, Blair biographer and Visiting Professor John Rentoul who co-teaches The Blair Years module, Sir Tony noted it was a strange feeling to be studied by students. He answered a range of questions, covering topics such as the current invasion of Ukraine, his changing style of government, relations with his Chancellor Gordon Brown, the current direction of the Labour Party to the Good Friday Agreement.

Sir Tony Blair with Dr Michelle Clement and Dr Jack Brown. Picture: STRAND GROUP
Sir Tony Blair with Dr Michelle Clement and Dr Jack Brown. Picture: STRAND GROUP

The session, which took place on 16 March, was chaired by Dr Michelle Clement and Dr Jack Brown. Dr Clement leads the Blair Years module and co-teaches on the The History of the Prime Minister 1979-2019 with Director of The Strand Group Prof Jon Davis. Dr Brown leads the undergraduate Prime Ministers and Leadership since Thatcher and also co-teaches on The History of the Prime Minister 1979-2019.

Prof Jon Davis said: “It’s an honour and privilege for our students to hear from Sir Tony. As an elder statesman he not only brings a wealth of insight and perspective on the big issues of the day but also can answer questions students have relating to their essays. I’m already looking forward to seeing this session appear in their footnotes!’

Ben Jones, a third-year undergraduate student, said: “It was a wonderful privilege to have Sir Tony Blair visit King’s and speak to my cohort of students. As an admirer of his, it was fantastic to hear his thoughts and opinions about his time as prime minister as well as the challenges facing Britain and Labour currently, the added anecdotes were great too! He has an insight and an intellect that very few have, and I thoroughly enjoyed his talk."

Isobel Conn, a postgraduate student, said: ‘The mix of insight from academics and guest speakers offered in the Strand Group modules has been truly enlightening for studying contemporary history. The guest lecture from Sir Tony Blair was a unique and invaluable opportunity, especially as he answered questions from students on our particular areas of interest. I am so grateful that I chose to study at King’s because of the amazing opportunities that the Strand Group have provided whilst I have been here.”

In this story

Jack Brown

Lecturer in London Studies and London Partnerships Director

Jon Davis

Director of the Strand Group