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Tony Blair’s longest-serving adviser on his rise to power

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17.01.2020

Anji Hunter came to talk to our postgraduate students at King’s College London this week and gave a wonderful insight into the rise and rule of Labour’s longest-serving prime minister.

She worked for Tony Blair longer than anyone, starting as a temporary research assistant in 1987, when he had been an MP for four years. She was studying for a degree in history and English, having gone to university late, with two young children, and Blair said: “Do you fancy coming back and working for me when you have finished your degree?”

She went on: “I said, ‘Yeah, I’ll do that.’ I put down my terms. I was allowed to have expenses, travel expenses, no pay, but at least I got my travel expenses. And I could work four days a week, so it suited me very well.

Sharing the full story, not just the headlines

“He said: ‘You have to get a first.’ It was a fantastic thing to say to me because I then got a first – it certainly incentivised me. So I’m here because I’m the longest serving one.”

She was this week’s special guest at the “Blair Years” class that I teach at King’s with Michelle Clement and Jon Davis, in which we give students direct access to the best form of primary sources: the people who were “in the room where it happened”.

She described Blair’s first office in parliament: “When you go up to the committee corridor, you’ve got these big steps, just go left, there about three or four committee rooms overlooking the river along that bit. There’s a little staircase down. And that is where Tony had his first office, a windowless room, which actually was........

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