January 13, 2015 / 6:14 PM / 5 years ago

Jay Leno, Tony Blair to speak at U.S. Republican retreat

Quartet Representative to the Middle East and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair attends the International donors conference on financing the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip in Cairo October 12, 2014. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Republicans, two weeks into controlling both houses of Congress, have invited comedian Jay Leno and former Prime Minister Tony Blair to speak at their annual retreat in Hershey, Pennsylvania, party aides said on Tuesday.

The closed-door Republican gathering will be held on Thursday and Friday at Hershey Lodge, near Hersheypark, the chocolate company’s family theme park in central Pennsylvania.

Members of the Republican majorities in the House and Senate are having a joint retreat for the first time in 10 years, flush from the November election success that added to the party’s number of seats in the House and gave it the majority in the Senate. A new session began last week.

Republicans will be strategising about the coming year in Congress, discussing topics such as immigration and border security, jobs and the economy, healthcare, and the U.S. budget, aides said.

Hershey, Pennsylvania, is where a chocolate factory was opened in 1905 by candy magnate Milton Hershey, who later built a town around it.

Leno, 64, retired as host of television’s “Tonight Show” in early 2014, capping a long career that began as a stand-up comedian and actor in minor film roles.

Blair led the Labour party from 1994 to 2007.

Reporting by Susan Cornwell; editing by Gunna Dickson

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