Arianna Huffington, president and editor-in-chief of AOL Huffington Post Media Group. talks backstage at the Nanette Lepore Fall 2011 fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York City, February 2011. The Huffington Post launched a British edition, in the first expansion outside North America for its news and opinion website.

The Huffington Post launched a British edition on Wednesday, in the first expansion outside North America for its news and opinion website.

The Huffington Post UK has hired a small team of full-time journalists to produce the website as it seeks to push into international markets following its acquisition in February by for $315 million (218 million euros).

The site, www.huffingtonpost.co.uk, has enlisted high-profile contributors from the world of politics and entertainment, including former British prime minister Tony Blair and comedian Ricky Gervais.

"I am delighted to be in London today for the first Huffington Post launch outside of North America," said a blog post from founder , who is now president and editor-in-chief of AOL Media Group.

"We are arriving here in the midst of a rich and thriving media culture marked by great innovation."

A Canadian edition of the site was launched in May and a spokeswoman said there were plans to expand into France and Russia although there were no firm launch dates as yet.

The Huffington Post's blog-led model, offering a lively mix of news, entertainment and opinion submitted by academics, entertainment figures and politicians, has proved immensely popular.

The US site, which was set up in 2005, attracted 36 million unique users last month, a spokesman said.