Blair To Return To Frontline Politics?

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After Chris Huhne resigned from the Cabinet last week to fight criminal charges of perverting the course of justice, the focus now switches to the Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley (1/2 Andrew Lansley next Cabinet Minister to leave their post). Under increasing pressure over his controversial and unpopular NHS reform bill, there is growing speculation that he could be forced aside in the near future, following rumours that George Osbourne is keen to kill off the bill.

Despite the problems facing the government, Labour still seem unable to capitalise, raising further worries that the party elected the wrong Miliband brother to lead them. With prospects looking bleak for the next election, Ed Miliband is facing growing calls to stand aside and allow a new leader to take over the party (6/4 Ed Miliband next leader to leave their post).

Were he to be replaced, shadow Home Secretary, Yvette Cooper, would be a strong favourite to replace him and become the first female leader of the Labour party (5/2 Yvette Cooper next Labour Leader). However, should she reiterate her claim last time that she prefers to spend time with her family than lead the party, the race may open up for her husband, Ed Balls, rising star of the Labour party, Chuka Umunna, or even Ed Miliband's brother, David.

However, one interesting outsider might be former leader, Tony Blair. Since resigning as Prime Minister to allow Gordon Brown to take over, he has remained out of the spotlight, but recent events are suggesting that he is once again becoming interested in British politics (100/1 Tony Blair next Labour Leader). He still has many supporters within the party and remains Labour's most successful leader in their history, having won three straight terms as Prime Minister.

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Across the Atlantic, the Republican race for the Presidency is looking to be a two-horse race between long-time favourite, Mitt Romney, and former Pennsylvania senator, Rick Santorum. The latest polls are showing the two neck-and-neck following Santorum's unexpected triple victory last week in the primaries (4/1 Rick Santorum to be Republican Candidate).

The biggest test will be the upcoming primary in Michigan in two weeks time. Santorum is concentrating all his limited resources on the state, where he currently holds between a 6-15 point lead, but the Romney machine has begun to turn its sights to its latest challenger, after successfully seeing off Newt Gingrich (1/4 Mitt Romney to be Republican Candidate).

Meanwhile, back in France, the Presidential race is beginning to hot up as Nicolas Sarkozy is fighting for his political survival in the face of a strong challenge from Francois Hollande (Nicolas Sarkozy 9/4 to be next President of France). Despite the support of German chancellor, Angela Merkel, the latest polls suggest he trails Hollande by around 7%, although he has closed the gap from the 15% difference in October last year.

The major worry for Sarkozy is that the far-right candidate, Marine Le Pen, could gain enough of the vote to push her way into the run-off ahead of the incumbent President (7/2 Marine Le Pen to reach run-off). Looking to repeat the unexpected success of her father in the 2002 election, she is currently around 9 points behind Sarkozy in the polls.

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