Blair given the all-clear after heart scare

BRITISH Prime Minister Tony Blair was yesterday admitted to hospital where he underwent treatment for an irregular heartbeat.

The 50-year-old Prime Minister spent almost five hours with doctors after being taken ill at Chequers.

He was taken to the nearby Stoke Mandeville Hospital, although not by ambulance, but was moved to Hammersmith hospital in London as it has a specialist coronary care unit.

Mr Blair, a father-of-four, was given a cardio-version for the condition before returning to Downing Street.

Doctors have told him to rest for 24 hours and he has pulled out of plans to give a statement in the House of Commons today on the European summit.

British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw will deliver that in his place but Mr Blair will hold meetings throughout the day, before returning to work full-time tomorrow.

A spokesman for Downing Street said: “This morning the Prime Minister was feeling under the weather and went to Stoke Mandeville hospital where they advised him to go to the Hammersmith.

“There it was established he had an irregular heartbeat and a cardio-version was administered to regulate it. This was completely successful. He was in hospital for four to five hours and is now back at Number 10. The hospital says this is a relatively common condition and is easily treated.

“He has suffered no damage and he is fine. There is no reason why this should reoccur. They have advised him to rest for 24 hours.”

It is the first known time that Mr Blair has been notably ill since becoming Prime Minister.

He has been under strain in recent months, particularly over the war in Iraq and the recent Hutton Inquiry into Dr David Kelly’s death.

He has also faced difficulties with backbenchers and the trials of Labour’s recent party conference. Mr Blair’s constituency Labour Party agent John Burton said he had spoken to the Prime Minister’s wife Cherie.

He said: “I have spoken to Cherie and Tony’s fine. He went into hospital and had some treatment and now he is fine.

“We are close family friends, we just asked after Tony. We were talking about him as just Tony not as the Prime Minister.”

He said local people in the Sedgefield constituency were rallying round and wishing Mr Blair a speedy recovery.

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