A FORMER Prime Minister has expressed his delight after hearing one of his former agents will receive an MBE.

John Burton, who worked as constituency agent for Tony Blair, was named in the New Years honours list.

Mr Burton was the constituency agent for Mr Blair, who represented Sedgefield from 1983 until he stood down as Prime Minister in 2007.

Mr Blair said the award was deserved and was especially touching as Mr Burton is dedicating it to his wife of 48 years Lily, who died in November 2011.

Mr Blair: "I am absolutely delighted for John. This is thoroughly deserved as he has made such a difference to the lives of so many people in the area.

“I'm also so pleased that he's dedicated it to Lily - a wonderful gesture."

Although retired from official work Mr Burton, from Trimdon, continues to serve on a number of community organisations including the parish council and two schools as well as being a church warden.