2007 Schools Wikipedia Selection. Related subjects: Political People
|The Rt Hon. Tony Blair|
|In office since
2 May 1997
|Preceded by||John Major|
|Born|| May 6, 1953 (age 53)
Anthony Charles Lynton Blair (born 6 May 1953) is the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, Leader of the UK Labour Party, and Member of the UK Parliament for the constituency of Sedgefield in North East England. As a member of the Cabinet of the United Kingdom he is also a Privy Counsellor. As First Lord of the Treasury, his official residence is 10 Downing Street in London.
Blair became leader of the British Labour Party in July 1994 following the sudden death of his predecessor, John Smith. Under Blair's leadership, the party won a landslide victory in the May 1997 general election, ending 18 years of government by the Conservative Party. Blair is the Labour Party's longest-serving Prime Minister, the only person to have led the party to three consecutive general election victories and the only Labour prime minister to serve more than one full consecutive term.
Together with Gordon Brown and Peter Mandelson, Blair is both credited and criticised for moving the Labour Party towards the centre of British politics, using the term " New Labour" to distinguish his pro- market policies from the more collectivist policies which the party had espoused in the past. Blair has described his political philosophy as "modern social democracy" and "the third way".
In domestic government policy, Blair has significantly increased public spending on health and education and made controversial structural reforms in these areas. Blair's tenure has also seen the introduction of the minimum wage, constitutional reform such as devolution in Scotland and Wales, and progress in the Northern Ireland peace process.
Since the advent of the War on Terror in 2001, a significant part of Blair's political agenda has been dominated by foreign affairs. Blair has strongly supported a number of aspects of US foreign policy, notably by participating in the invasions of Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003. He has encountered fierce criticism as a result, and the circumstances in which he took Britain to war in Iraq have caused many opponents of the war to perceive him as dishonest.
On 7 September 2006 Blair publicly stated he would step down as party leader by the time of the September 2007 Trades Union Congress, but has not yet stated a precise date for his departure.
Background and Family Life
Tony Blair was born at the Queen Mary Maternity Home in Edinburgh, Scotland, the second son of Leo and Hazel Blair (née Corscadden). Leo Blair was the illegitimate son of two English actors, Charles Parsons and Mary Augusta Ridgway Bridson, whilst Hazel Corscadden's family were Protestants from County Donegal, Ireland. He has one elder brother, William Blair, who is a barrister and a Queen's Counsel (QC), and a younger sister, Sarah. Blair spent the first 19 months of his life at the family home in Paisley Terrace in the Willowbrae area of Edinburgh. During this period his father worked as a junior tax inspector whilst also studying for a law degree from the University of Edinburgh. His family spent three and a half years in the 1950s living in Adelaide, Australia, where his father was a lecturer in law at the University of Adelaide. The Blairs lived quite close to the university, in the leafy suburb of Dulwich.
The family returned to Britain in the late 1950s, living for a time with Hazel Blair's parents at their home in Stepps, near Glasgow. Blair spent the remainder of his childhood in Durham, England, his father being by then a lecturer at Durham University. After attending Durham's Chorister School Blair boarded at Fettes College, a famous independent school in Edinburgh, where he met Charlie Falconer, whom he later appointed Lord Chancellor. Blair reportedly modelled himself on Mick Jagger, and is said to have enjoyed a reputation as a conspicuously " cool" young man among his fellow pupils. His teachers, however, were less impressed by his behaviour: his biographer John Rentoul reported that "All the teachers I spoke to... said he was a complete pain in the backside, and they were very glad to see the back of him."
After Fettes, Blair spent a year in London, where he attempted to find fame as a rock music promoter, before going up to Oxford University to read law at St John's College. As a student, he played guitar and sang for a rock band called Ugly Rumours. During this time, he dated future American Psycho director Mary Harron. After graduating from Oxford with a second class degree, Blair became a member of Lincoln's Inn, enrolled as a pupil barrister and met his future wife, Cherie Booth (daughter of the actor Tony Booth) at the Chambers founded by Derry Irvine (who was to be Blair's first Lord Chancellor), 11 King's Bench Walk Chambers. His biographer Rentoul records that, according to his lawyer friends, Blair was much less concerned about which party he was affiliated with than about his aim of becoming Prime Minister.
Blair married Booth, a practising Roman Catholic and future Queen's Counsel, on 29 March 1980. They have four children ( Euan, Nicky, Kathryn and Leo). Leo (born 20 May 2000) was the first legitimate child born to a serving Prime Minister in over 150 years, since Francis Russell was born to Lord John Russell on 11 July 1849.
Although the Blairs stated that they had wished to shield their children from the media, Euan and Nicky's education was a cause of political controversy. They both attended the Catholic London Oratory School, which had been criticised by left-wingers for the perceived elitism of its selection procedures. The Blairs chose this school over a Catholic school in Labour-controlled Islington, where they then lived. However, Tony Blair pointed out that he was the first post-war Prime Minister to have sent his children to state-funded schools, rather than independent ones. There was further criticism from the left when it was revealed that Euan received private coaching from the staff of the fee-paying Westminster School, but this was not unusual for Prime Ministers of either political party to have arranged for their children . He lived in Richmond Avenue, Islington, for the years leading up to his election as prime minister.
Early political career
Blair joined the Labour Party shortly after graduating from Oxford in 1975. During the early 1980s, he was involved in Labour politics in Hackney South and Shoreditch, where he aligned himself with the " soft left" of the party. He unsuccessfully attempted to secure selection as a candidate for Hackney Borough Council. Through his father-in-law, the actor Tony Booth, he contacted Labour MP Tom Pendry to ask for help in pursuing a Parliamentary career. Pendry gave him a tour of the House of Commons and advised him to stand for selection as a candidate in the forthcoming by-election in the safe Conservative seat of Beaconsfield, where Pendry knew a senior member of the local party. Blair was chosen as the candidate; he won only 10% of the vote and lost his deposit, but he impressed Labour Party leader Michael Foot and acquired a profile within the party. In contrast to his later centrism, Blair described himself in this period as a Socialist. A letter that he wrote to Foot in July 1982, eventually published in June 2006, gives an indication of his outlook at this time.
In 1983 Blair found that the newly created constituency of Sedgefield, near where he had grown up in Durham, had no Labour candidate. Several sitting MPs displaced by boundary changes were interested in securing selection to fight the seat. He found a branch that had not made a nomination and arranged to visit them. With the crucial support of John Burton, he won their endorsement; at the last minute he was added to the shortlist and won the selection over displaced sitting MP Les Huckfield. Burton later became his agent and one of his most trusted and longest-standing allies.
Blair's election literature in the 1983 UK general election endorsed the distinctly left-wing policies that the Labour Party advocated in the early 1980s. He called for Britain to leave the EEC, though he had told his selection conference that he personally favoured continuing membership. He also, more enthusiastically, supported unilateral nuclear disarmament, being a member of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament at the time. Sedgefield was a safe Labour seat and Blair was elected as its MP, despite the party's national landslide defeat. Blair was helped on the campaign trail by soap actress Pat Phoenix, his father-in-law's girlfriend.
Blair stated in his maiden speech in the House of Commons on 6 July 1983: "I am a socialist not through reading a textbook that has caught my intellectual fancy, nor through unthinking tradition, but because I believe that, at its best, socialism corresponds most closely to an existence that is both rational and moral. It stands for cooperation, not confrontation; for fellowship, not fear. It stands for equality". The Labour Party is declared in its constitution to be a democratic socialist party, rather than a social democratic party - Blair himself organised this declaration of Labour to be a socialist party when he dealt with the change to the party's Clause IV in their constitution.
Once elected, Blair's ascent was rapid, and he received his first shadow-cabinet appointment in 1984 as assistant Treasury spokesman. He demanded an inquiry into the Bank of England's decision to rescue the collapsed Johnson Matthey Bank in October 1985, and embarrassed the government by finding a European Economic Community report critical of British economic policy that had been countersigned by a member of the Conservative government. By this time Blair was aligned with the reforming tendencies in the party, headed by leader Neil Kinnock, and was promoted after the 1987 election to the shadow Trade and Industry team as spokesman on the City of London. In 1987, he stood for election to the Shadow Cabinet, with a good show of 77 votes.
After the stock market crash of October 1987, Blair raised his profile further when he castigated City traders as "incompetent" and "morally dubious". He also protested against the third-class service for small investors at the London Stock Exchange. In 1988, Blair entered the Shadow Cabinet as Shadow Secretary of State for Energy, and the following year he became Shadow Employment Secretary. In this post, he realised that the Labour Party's support for the emerging European "Social Charter" policies on employment law meant dropping the party's traditional support for closed shop arrangements, whereby employers required all their employees to be members of a trade union. He announced this change in December 1989, outraging the left wing of the Labour Party. As a young and telegenic Shadow Cabinet member, Blair was given prominence by the party's Director of Communications, Peter Mandelson. His first major platform speech, at the 1990 Labour Party conference, was a major embarrassment, however: he spoke too fast and lost his place in his notes.
In the run-up to the 1992 general election, Blair worked to modernize Labour's image. He had responsibility for developing the minimum wage policy stance that that was expected to see strong opposition; during the election campaign he had a notable confrontation with the owner of a children's nursery who insisted that the policy would cost jobs.
When Neil Kinnock resigned as party leader after Labour's fourth consecutive electoral defeat, Blair became Shadow Home Secretary under John Smith. The Labour Party at this time was widely perceived as weak on crime and Blair worked to change this: he accepted that the prison population might have to rise, and bemoaned the loss of a sense of community, which he was prepared to blame (at least partly) on "1960s liberalism". On the other hand, he spoke in support of equalising the age of consent for gay sex at 16, and opposed capital punishment. He defined his policy, in a phrase coined by Gordon Brown, as " Tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime".
John Smith died suddenly in 1994 of a heart attack. Blair beat John Prescott and Margaret Beckett in the subsequent leadership election. After becoming Leader of the Opposition, Blair was, as is customary for the holder of that office, appointed a Privy Counsellor, which permitted him to be addressed with the style " The Right Honourable".
Leader of the Labour Party
Blair announced at the end of his speech at the 1994 Labour Party conference that he intended to replace Clause IV of the party's constitution with a new statement of aims and values. This involved the deletion of the party's stated commitment to 'the common ownership of the means of production and exchange', which was widely interpreted as referring to wholesale nationalisation. The clause was replaced by a statement that the party is one of democratic socialism. A special conference approved this practically insignificant but highly symbolic change in April 1995.
Blair also revised party policy in a manner that enhanced the image of Labour as competent and modern — he used the term "New Labour" to distinguish the party from its past. Although the transformation aroused much criticism (its alleged superficiality drawing fire both from political opponents and traditionalists within the "rank and file" of his own party), it was nevertheless successful in changing public perception. At the 1996 Labour Party conference, Blair stated that his three top priorities on coming to office were "education, education and education".
Aided by the unpopularity of John Major's Conservative government (itself deeply divided over the European Union), "New Labour" won a landslide victory in the 1997 general election with Blair the youngest person to attain the office of Prime Minister since Lord Liverpool in 1812.
First term 1997 to 2001
Independence for the Bank of England
Immediately after taking office, Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown gave the Bank of England the power to set the UK base rate of interest autonomously. This decision was popular with the British financial establishment in London, which the Labour Party had been courting since the early 1990s. Together with the Government's decision to remain within projected Conservative spending limits for its first two years in office, it helped to reassure sceptics of the Labour Party's fiscal "prudence".
British Prime Minister
|Style||Right Honourable (Rt.Hon.)|
|Post nominals||PC (not used when Rt.Hon. used), MP|
In the early years of his first term, Blair relied for his political advice on a close circle of his staff, among whom his press secretary and official spokesman Alastair Campbell was seen as particularly influential. Controversially, Campbell was permitted to give orders to civil servants, who had previously taken instructions only from ministers. Unlike some of his predecessors, Campbell was a political appointee and had not come up through the Civil Service. Despite his overtly political role, he was paid from public funds as a civil servant. His was one of a number of New Labour appointments that gave rise to fears that the traditional political neutrality of the civil service was being eroded.
A significant achievement of Blair's first term was the signing, on 10 April 1998, of the Belfast Agreement, generally known as the Good Friday Agreement. Negotiations aimed at bringing peace to Northern Ireland had begun under the previous Prime Minister, John Major, but had collapsed after the end of the first IRA ceasefire in the mid-1990s. In the Good Friday Agreement, most Northern Irish political parties, together with the British and Irish Governments, agreed upon an "exclusively peaceful and democratic" framework for the governance of Northern Ireland and a new set of political institutions for the province.
Blair's first term saw an extensive programme of changes to the constitution. The Human Rights Act was introduced in 1998; a Scottish Parliament and a Welsh Assembly were set up; most hereditary peers were removed from the House of Lords in 1999; the Greater London Authority and the post of Mayor of London were established in 2000; and the Freedom of Information Act was passed later in the same year, with its provisions coming into effect over the following decade. This last Act disappointed campaigners, whose hopes had been raised by a 1998 White Paper which had promised more robust legislation. Also, whether the House of Lords should be fully appointed, fully elected, or be subject to a combination of the two remains a disputed question. 2003 saw a series of inconclusive votes on the matter in the House of Commons.
During Blair's first term, the age of consent for gay sex was equalized at 16 and the ban on gays in the armed forces was lifted. Subsequently, in 2005, a Civil Partnership Act came into effect, allowing gay couples to form legally recognised partnerships.
Tony Blair's touch was less sure with regard to the Millenium Dome project. The incoming government greatly expanded the size of the project and consequently increased expectations of what would be delivered. Just before its opening Blair claimed the Dome would be "a triumph of confidence over cynicism, boldness over blandness, excellence over mediocrity". In the words of BBC correspondent Robert Orchard, "the Dome was to be highlighted as a glittering New Labour achievement in the next election manifesto". The ultimate unpopularity of what should have been a fringe project meant that its failure had a political effect that far exceeded its intrinsic importance.
In 1999, Blair planned and presided over the declaration of the Kosovo War. While in opposition, the Labour Party had criticised the Conservatives for their perceived weakness during the Bosnian war, and Blair was among those urging a strong line by NATO against Slobodan Milošević. Blair was criticised both by those on the Left who opposed the war in principle and by some others who believed that the Serbs were fighting a legitimate war of self-defence. One month into the war, on 22 April 1999, Blair made a speech in Chicago setting out his "Doctrine of the International Community".
Also in 1999, Blair was awarded the Charlemagne Award by the German city of Aachen for his contributions to the European ideal and to peace in Europe.
Blair urged his fellow EU members on October 20, 2006 to send a strong message to the Sudanese government that it must allow a UN force into Darfur, arguing that it is a critical time for Darfur and therefore a chance for the EU to strengthen the pressure on the Sudanese government.
Second term 2001 to 2005
In the 2001 general election campaign, Blair emphasised the theme of improving public services, notably the National Health Service and the State education system. The Conservatives concentrated on opposing British membership of the Euro, which did little to win over floating voters. The Labour Party largely preserved its majority, and Blair became the first Labour Prime Minister to win a full second term. However, the election was notable for a large fall in voter turnout.
Following the 11 September 2001 attacks on New York and Washington, Blair was very quick to align the UK with the United States, engaging in a round of shuttle diplomacy to help form and maintain an international coalition prior to the 2001 war against Afghanistan. He maintains his diplomatic activity to this day, showing a willingness to visit countries that other world leaders might consider too dangerous to visit. In 2003, he became the first Briton since Winston Churchill to be awarded a Congressional Gold Medal by the United States Congress for being "a staunch and steadfast ally of the United States of America", although media attention has been drawn to the fact that Blair has yet to attend the ceremony to receive his medal; some commentators point to the unpopularity in Britain of his support for the U.S. as the explanation for the delay. In 2003, Blair was also awarded an Ellis Island Medal of Honour for his support of the United States after 9/11 - the first non-American to receive the honour.
Blair gave strong support to US President George W. Bush's invasion of Iraq in 2003. He soon became the face of international support for the war, often clashing with French President Jacques Chirac, who became the face of international opposition. Widely regarded as a more persuasive speaker than Bush, Blair gave many speeches arguing for the overthrow of Saddam Hussein in the days leading up to the invasion.
Blair's case for war was based on Iraq's alleged possession of weapons of mass destruction and consequent violation of UN resolutions. He was wary of making direct appeals for regime change, since international law does not recognize this as a ground for war. A memorandum from a July 2002 meeting that was leaked in April 2005 showed that Blair believed that the British public would support regime change in the right political context; the document, however, stated that legal grounds for such action were weak. On 24 September 2002 the Government published a dossier based on the intelligence agencies' assessments of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. Among the items in the dossier was a recently received intelligence report that "the Iraqi military are able to deploy chemical or biological weapons within 45 minutes of an order to do so". A further briefing paper on Iraq's alleged WMDs was issued to journalists in February 2003. This document was discovered to have taken a large part of its text without attribution from a PhD thesis available on the internet. Where the thesis hypothesized about possible WMDs, the Downing Street version presented the ideas as fact. The document subsequently became known as the " Dodgy Dossier".
Forty-six thousand British troops, one-third of the total strength of the British Army (land forces), were deployed to assist with the invasion of Iraq. When, after the war, it was established that Iraq had not possessed any WMDs, the two dossiers, together with Blair's other pre-war statements, became an issue of considerable controversy. Many Labour Party members, including a number who had supported the war, were among the critics. Successive independent inquiries (including those by the Foreign Affairs Select Committee of the House of Commons, the senior judge Lord Hutton, and the former senior civil servant Lord Butler of Brockwell) have found that Blair honestly stated what he believed to be true at the time, though Lord Butler's report did imply that the Government's presentation of the intelligence evidence had been subject to some degree of exaggeration. These findings have not prevented frequent accusations that Blair was deliberately deceitful, and, during the 2005 election campaign, Conservative leader Michael Howard made political capital out of the issue.
Several anti-war pressure groups want to try Blair for war crimes in Iraq at the International Criminal Court. The Secretary General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, stated in September 2004 that the invasion was "illegal", but did not state the legal basis for this assertion. Prior to the war, the UK Attorney General Lord Goldsmith, who acts as the Government's legal adviser, had advised Blair that the war was legal.
British armed forces were active in southern Iraq to stabilise the country in the run-up to the Iraqi elections of January 2005. In October 2004, the UK government agreed to a request from US forces to send a battalion of the Black Watch regiment to the American sector in order to free up US troops for an assault on Fallujah. The subsequent deployment of the Black Watch was criticised by some in Britain on the grounds that its alleged ultimate purpose was to assist George Bush's re-election in the 2004 US presidential election. As of September 2006, seven thousand and five hundred British forces remain in Southern Iraq, around the city of Basra. After the presidential election, Blair tried to use his relationship with President Bush to persuade the US to devote efforts to resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
In an interview with David Frost on Al Jazeera in November 2006, Blair appeared to agree with Frost's assessment that the war had been "pretty much of a disaster", although a Downing Street spokesperson denied that this was an accurate reflection of Blair's view.
After fighting the 2001 election on the theme of improving public services, Blair's government raised taxes in 2002 (described by the Conservatives as " stealth taxes") in order to increase spending on education and health. Blair insisted the increased funding would have to be matched by internal reforms. The government introduced the Foundation Hospitals scheme to allow NHS hospitals financial autonomy, although the eventual shape of the proposals, after an internal struggle with Gordon Brown, allowed for less freedom than Blair had wished. Several healthcare trusts established under the foundation hospitals scheme are now in severe financial difficulties, having spent large proportions of their funding increases on pay rises for staff and on expensive drugs. As a result, with supply of healthcare services increasing less quickly than demand, benefits from the NHS have not increased to the same degree, and the NHS had an £800 million deficit for the 2005/6 financial year.
The peace process in Northern Ireland hit a series of problems. In October 2002, the Northern Ireland Assembly established under the Good Friday Agreement was suspended. Attempts to persuade the IRA to decommission its weapons were unsuccessful, and, in the second set of elections to the Assembly in November 2003, the staunchly unionist Democratic Unionist Party replaced the more moderate Ulster Unionist Party as Northern Ireland's largest unionist party, making a return to devolved government more difficult. At the same time, Sinn Féin replaced the more moderate SDLP as the province's largest nationalist party.
In its first term, the government had introduced an annual fixed tuition fee of around £1,000 for higher education students (rejecting requests from universities to be allowed to vary the fee), with reductions and exemptions for poor students. At the same time, the remaining student maintenance grant was replaced with a low-interest loan, which was to be repaid once the student was earning over a certain threshold. In 2003, Blair controversially introduced legislation permitting universities to charge variable fees of up to £3,000 per year. At the same time, the repayment of student loans was delayed until the graduate's income was much higher, and grants were reintroduced for some students from poorer backgrounds. It was claimed the increase in university fees violated a promise in Labour's 2001 election manifesto, though this claim is arguably unsustainable if the relevant promise is interpreted strictly and literally. At its second reading in the House of Commons in January 2004, the Higher Education Bill which contained the changes was passed with a majority of only five, due to a large-scale backbench Labour rebellion. A defeat was averted by a last-minute change of intention by a small number of Gordon Brown's backbench allies.
On 1 August 2003 Blair became the longest continuously serving Labour Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, surpassing Harold Wilson's 1964-1970 term. By this time, the Government was confronted with the crisis over the suicide of Dr. David Kelly, and there were no celebrations. The Hutton Inquiry into Kelly's death reported on 2 August, and, despite widespread expectations that Hutton's report would criticise Blair and his government, Hutton cleared the Government of deliberately inserting false intelligence into the September Dossier, while criticising the BBC editorial process which had allowed unfounded allegations to be broadcast. Evidence to the inquiry raised further questions over the use of intelligence in the run up to the war, and the report did not satisfy opponents of Blair and of the war. After a similar decision by President Bush, Blair set up another inquiry - the Butler Review - into the accuracy and presentation of the intelligence relating to Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction. Opponents of the war, especially the Liberal Democrats, refused to participate in this inquiry, since it did not meet their demands for a full public inquiry into whether the war was justified.
The political fallout from the Iraq War continued to dog Blair's premiership after the Butler Review. On 25 August 2004 Plaid Cymru MP Adam Price announced he would attempt to impeach Blair, hoping to invoke a Parliamentary procedure that has lain dormant for 150 years but has never been abolished. In principle, the British House of Commons has the power to indict Tony Blair before the House of Lords, who would in turn have the power to pass whatever sentence it considered appropriate upon him, without reference to the ordinary criminal courts. This move was supported by Plaid Cymru and the SNP, as well as by RESPECT's George Galloway and Independent MP Richard Taylor. Ten Conservative MPs signed the relevant motion, as did two Liberal Democrats, making a total of 23 MPs. The campaign attracted the support of writers Iain Banks and Frederick Forsyth, and actor Corin Redgrave. The case for Blair's impeachment was outlined by Adam Price in a report entitled "A case to answer".
In April 2004, Blair announced that a referendum would be held on the ratification of the EU Constitution. This represented a significant development in British politics: only one nationwide referendum had previously been held (in 1975, on whether the UK should remain in the EEC), though a referendum had been promised if the Government decided to join the Euro, and referenda had been held on devolved structures of government in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. It was a dramatic change of policy for Blair, who had previously dismissed calls for a referendum unless the constitution fundamentally altered the UK's relationship with the EU. Michael Howard seized upon this "EU-turn", reminding Blair of his declaration to the 2003 Labour Party conference that "I can only go one way. I haven't got a reverse gear". The referendum was expected to be held in early 2006; however, after the French and Dutch rejections of the constitution, the Blair government announced it was suspending plans for a referendum for the foreseeable future.
During his second term, Blair was increasingly the target for protests. His speech to the 2004 Labour Party conference, for example, was interrupted both by a protester against the Iraq War and by a group that opposed the government's decision to allow the House of Commons to ban fox hunting.
On 15 September 2004 Blair delivered a speech on the environment and the 'urgent issue' of climate change. In unusually direct language he concluded that If what the science tells us about climate change is correct, then unabated it will result in catastrophic consequences for our world... The science, almost certainly, is correct. The action he proposed to take appeared to be based on business and investment rather than legislative or tax-based attempts to reduce CO2 emissions: ...it is possible to combine reducing emissions with economic growth... investment in science and technology and in the businesses associated with it...
On 19 October 2003 it emerged Blair had received treatment for an irregular heartbeat. Having felt ill the previous day, he went to hospital and was diagnosed with supraventricular tachycardia. This was treated by cardioversion and he returned home that night. He was reported to have taken the following day ( 20 October) a more gently than usual and returned to a full schedule on 21 October. Downing Street aides later suggested the palpitations had been brought on by drinking lots of strong coffee at an EU summit and then working-out vigorously in the gym. However, former minister Lewis Moonie, a doctor, said the treatment was more serious than Number 10 had admitted: "Anaesthetising somebody and giving their heart electric shocks is not something you just do in the routine run of medical practice."
In September 2004, in off-the-cuff remarks during an interview with ITV news, Lord Bragg said Blair was "under colossal strain" over "considerations of his family" and that Blair had thought "things over very carefully." This led to speculation Blair would resign. Although details of a family problem were known by the press, no paper reported them because according to one journalist, to have done so would have breached "the bounds of privacy and media responsibility."
Blair underwent a catheter ablation to correct his irregular heartbeat on 1 October 2004, after announcing the procedure on the previous day, in a series of interviews in which he also declared he would seek a third term but not a fourth. The planned procedure was carried out at London's Hammersmith hospital.
At the same time as Blair's operation it was disclosed the Blairs had purchased a house at 29 Connaught Square, London, for a reported £3.5 million. Some have speculated that part of No. 29 is to be converted into offices for a future Blair Foundation. The purchase also led to more speculation that Blair was preparing for life after government.
Third term 2005 to present
The Labour Party won the 2005 general election and a third consecutive term in office. The next day, Blair was invited to form a Government by Queen Elizabeth II. The reduction in the Labour majority (from 167 to 66) and the low share of the popular vote (35%) led to some Labour MPs calling for Blair to leave office sooner rather than later; among them was Frank Dobson, who had served in Blair's cabinet during his first term. However, dissenting voices quickly vanished as Blair in June 2005 took on European leaders over the future direction of the European Union.
G8 and EU presidencies
The rejection by France and the Netherlands of the treaty to establish a constitution for the European Union presented Blair with an opportunity to postpone the doubtful UK referendum on the constitution without taking the blame for failing from the EU. Foreign Secretary Jack Straw announced that the Parliamentary Bill to enact a referendum was suspended indefinitely. It had previously been agreed that ratification would continue unless the treaty had been rejected by at least five of the 25 European Union member states who must all ratify it. In an address to the European Parliament, Blair stated: "I believe in Europe as a political project. I believe in Europe with a strong and caring social dimension."
Chirac held several meetings with Schröder and the pair pressed for the UK to give up its rebate, famously won by Margaret Thatcher in 1984. After verbal conflict over several weeks, Blair, along with the leaders of all 25 member states, descended on Brussels for the EU Summit of the 18 June 2005 to attempt to finalise the EU budget for 2007-2013. Blair refused to renegotiate the rebate unless the proposals included a compensating overhaul of EU spending, particularly on the Common Agricultural Policy which composes 44% of the EU budget. After intense arguments inside closed doors, talks broke down late at night and the leaders emerged, all blaming each other. It is widely accepted that Blair came out on top, making allies in the Netherlands and Sweden and potentially (and crucially) several of the Eastern European accession countries.
It fell to Blair to broker a deal on the EU budget during the UK's Presidency of the European Union during the latter half of 2005. Early international opinion, particularly in the French press, suggested that Blair held a very strong opening position partly on account of the concurrence of British presidencies of the EU and G8. However, early in the UK's six-month term the 7 July London bombings distracted political attention from the EU despite some ambitious early statements about Blair's agenda. Domestically, Blair faced further distractions from European affairs including a resurgent Conservative Party under its newly-elected leader David Cameron, and assessments of the British presidency's achievements under Blair have been lukewarm in spite of some diplomatic success including a last-minute budget deal. The most controversial result was an agreement to increase British contributions to the EU development budget for new member countries, which effectively reduced the UK rebate by 20%.
2012 Summer Olympics
On 6 July 2005, during the 117th International Olympic Committee ( IOC) session in Singapore, the IOC announced that the 2012 Summer Olympics, the Games of the XXX Olympiad, were awarded to London over Paris by a small (four votes) margin. The competition between Paris and London to host the Games had become increasingly heated particularly after French President Jacques Chirac commented three days before the vote that "one cannot trust people [ie: the British] whose cuisine are so bad." The surprise win by London over the perceived frontrunner Paris was said to have been decided by the presence of Blair at the IOC session. Irish IOC member Patrick Hickey said, "This is down to Tony Blair. If he hadn't come here I'd say that six to eight votes would have been lost and London would not be sitting here today winners".
2005 London bombings
On Thursday 7 July 2005, a series of four bomb explosions struck London's public transport system during the morning rush-hour. All four incidents were suicide bombings. Fifty-six people were killed and 700 injured. The incident was the deadliest single act of terrorism in the United Kingdom since 270 died in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland and replaced the 1998 Omagh Bombing (29 Dead) as the second most deadliest terrorist attack on British soil. It was also the deadliest bombing in London since World War II.
Blair made a statement about the day's bombings, saying that he believed it was "reasonably clear" that it was an act of terror, and that he hoped the people of Britain could demonstrate that their will to overcome the events is greater than the terrorists' wish to cause destruction. He also said that his determination to "defend" the British way of life outweighed "extremist determination" to destroy it. On 13 July 2005, he told that international cooperation would be needed to "pull up this evil ideology by its roots".
On 21 July 2005, a second series of explosions were reported in London, two weeks and some hours after the 7 July 2005 London bombings. Four controlled explosions, of devices considerably less advanced than those of the previous attacks, were carried out at Shepherd's Bush, Warren Street and Oval underground stations, and on a bus in Shoreditch. Even though the attacks on the 21st were less severe than those on the 7th, Blair was reported to have said that the bombings in London today were intended "to scare people and to frighten them, to make them anxious and worried". He went on to say how the "police have done their very best, and the security services too, in the situation, and I think we have just got to react calmly and continue with our business as much as possible normal".
Concerns about terror attacks led to 10 Downing Street requesting media organizations not to identify the location of Blair's 2005 summer holiday. After Blair attended a public function it was acknowledged that the holiday was in Barbados, as a guest of the singer Cliff Richard with whom Blair has stayed before. During a renewed stay there in August 2006, Blair refused to endorse calls for a ceasefire in Lebanon.
A Guardian/ICM poll conducted after the first wave of attacks found that 64% of the British population believed that Blair's decision to wage war in Iraq had led indirectly to the terrorist attacks on London. The public did however indicate approval of Blair's handling of the attacks, with his approval rating moving into positive territory for the first time in five years. In December 2005, the Prime Minister was presented with the "Statesman of the Decade" award by the EastWest Institute, a trans-Atlantic think tank that organizes an annual Security Conference in Brussels.
Proposed laws to cope with the threat of terrorism proved extremely controversial; an amendment to require that glorifying terrorism be deliberate in order to be an offence was rejected in the House of Commons by just three votes (a result initially announced as a one-vote margin, due to a miscount). The proposal to allow terrorist suspects to be held for questioning for up to 90 days was defeated on 9 November by a margin of 31 with 49 Labour MPs voting against the government. Instead, MPs supported an amendment to allow questioning for 28 days proposed by veteran backbencher David Winnick. This was Blair's first defeat on the floor of the House of Commons since he became Prime Minister in 1997, and most commentators saw this as seriously undermining his authority.
Education reforms 2006
The introduction of further reforms to the education system, which restricted the involvement of local education authorities in opening new schools, proved controversial. Labour backbenchers opposed to the proposals produced a rival manifesto, and the Bill to introduce the changes was delayed while the government negotiated with them. The Conservative Party declared its support for the reforms, making passage certain but increasing the likelihood that Labour MPs would vote against them. On 15 March 2006 the Education and Inspections Bill passed its second reading, with 52 Labour MPs voting against; had the Conservative Party also voted against it would have been defeated.
Local elections on 4 May 2006 and cabinet reshuffle
The local elections in England on 4 May 2006 dealt a blow to Blair, with the loss of 317 seats and 18 councils. This result was thought to be partly continued fallout from public dissatisfaction over the decision to invade Iraq, and partly due to a scandal concerning the Home Office's mishandling of foreign criminals' deportation. At the same time, an affair of the Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott with his diary secretary had been made public. Further, some Primary Care and Hospital Trust sustained significant deficits and had to release staff, which called into question the position of Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt. On 5 May, Blair reshuffled his Cabinet. Most significantly, Charles Clarke and Foreign Secretary Jack Straw were relieved of their duties and many other positions were reassigned. Many commentators saw this as a panic reaction designed to ward off calls for Blair to step down.
Resignation as Labour Party leader and Prime Minister
On 7 September 2006, Blair announced that the 2006 Labour Party conference would be his last as leader (i.e. he planned to resign by September 2007). Gordon Brown, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, is the favourite to be the next Labour Party leader and thereby to take over from Blair as Prime Minister.
After Labour's 2004 conference, Blair announced in a BBC interview that he would serve a "full third term" but would not fight a fourth general election. No term limits exist in British politics, and such an announcement was historically unprecedented. Blair said he would give "ample time" for his successor to establish himself before the next general election, likely to be held in 2009 or 2010.
Following the 2005 election there has been constant speculation over the date of Blair's departure. At Westminster, he was expected to retire after the proposed UK referendum on the European Union Constitution, but the constitution's demise eliminated this possibility. The July 2005 terror attacks also reduced the likelihood of an early departure. Speculation as to the likely timing of Blair's departure increased in May 2006, following Labour's poor results in English local elections. His successor is widely expected to be Gordon Brown, the current Chancellor of the Exchequer. The only politician to formally declare himself a contender for Labour leadership following Blair's departure is left-wing Labour MP John McDonnell, who launched his campaign on 14 July 2006.
If Blair remains in office until 27 November 2008, he would surpass Margaret Thatcher as the longest continuously serving Prime Minister since Lord Liverpool, 1812-27.
On 22 August 2005, the Sunday Mirror suggested Blair would join the Carlyle Group upon leaving Number Ten. The chairman of Carlyle is Lou Gerstner, whom Blair personally recommended for a knighthood in 2001.
Blair has said that after stepping down as Prime Minister, he plans to leave front-line politics and does not intend to take a seat in the House of Lords, commenting that it is, "...not my scene". There were rumours in the British press that Blair would stand for the position of United Nations Secretary-General when Kofi Annan stepped down on 31 December 2006, but Blair did not pursue that position.
It was reported on 30 July 2006 that Blair had agreed a £4m deal for his diaries with a publishing firm owned by Rupert Murdoch.
On 5 September 2006 a letter signed by 17 Labour MPs called for Tony Blair to resign. On the same day 49 other Labour MPs signed a statement supporting Blair's departure timetable. The next day The Sun reported that Blair would step down as Labour leader on May 31, 2007, and as Prime Minister when a new leader is elected. That same day, seven of the MPs who signed the letter resigned as Parliamentary Private Secretaries (unpaid and unofficial posts assisting Government ministers).
Regarding his departure, on 7 September 2006 he stated that the next Labour Party conference would be his last as leader. He did not announce a specific timetable for either his departure or the election of a new leader, but he did state that he would "set a precise date" at some point in the future. On 26 September 2006 he restated this at Labour's annual conference "this is my last conference as leader".
Row over Muslim women wearing veils
A row over Muslim women wearing veils developed after Leader of the Commons Jack Straw said he asked women in his constituency to remove them when they visited him. The Prime Minister believed that this was a "mark of separation" and made some "outside the community feel uncomfortable". He also backed Kirklees Council, which suspended a classroom assistant Aishah Azmi for refusing to remove her full face veil at school. There was criticism from some areas asserting that the Prime Minister may have breached the ministerial code with his outspoken intervention especially as Miss Azmi's court case was still ongoing.
Blair and Parliament
Blair has changed Parliamentary procedures significantly. One of his first acts as Prime Minister was to replace the two weekly 15-minute sessions of Prime Minister's Questions, held on a Tuesday and Thursday, with a single 30-minute session on a Wednesday. This reform was said to have led to greater efficiency, but critics have noted that it is easier to prepare for one long set of questions than for two shorter sessions. In addition to PMQs, Blair has held monthly press conferences, at which he fields questions in a less confrontational manner than in the Commons.
Other procedural reforms supported by Blair include changes to the rules concerning the times when Parliament sits. These latter changes are said to allow Parliament to operate in a more business-like manner.
Blair and Brown
After the death of John Smith in 1994, both Blair and Gordon Brown were viewed as possible candidates for the leadership of the Labour Party. They had agreed that they would not stand against each other, and Brown had previously been considered to be the more senior of the two men — he understood this to mean that Blair would give way to him. It soon became apparent, however, that Blair had greater public support. At the Granita restaurant in Islington on 31 May, Brown agreed with Blair that he would not contest the leadership election. He understood Blair to have agreed in return to step down as party leader after a specified period (after 8 years, according to some reports), but Blair has always denied striking any such deal with him. It may be that both men placed honestly differing interpretations on the same conversation. In September 2003, British TV Channel Channel 4 broadcast a one-off drama about the alleged agreement, called The Deal, which culminated in the conversation in question. The final words of it, as spoken by the actors playing Blair and Brown, were as follows:
Brown: And the election after that? (i.e. the election following two terms of a Labour Government) Blair: Well... Obviously, I couldn't go on for ever.
It has also been alleged that while in office as Prime Minister, Blair gave Brown further indications (and even promises) that he would step down in Brown's favour at specified times. Whatever the truth of these reports, Blair's consistent refusal to leave office (so far) has led to relations between the two men becoming irretrievably embittered. At certain times, Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott has reportedly acted as their "marriage guidance counsellor".
Another aspect of the political relationship between Blair and Brown is the exceptional freedom given by Blair from the start of his time in office to his Chancellor in the area of economic policy. Downing Street insiders have subsequently reported that Blair grew to regret granting Brown this freedom, since he has been excluded from important fiscal decisions as a result.
Blair is still seen as refusing to endorse Gordon Brown as his successor. Commentators speculate that this reflects hopes in Downing Street that, given sufficient time, other candidates for Prime Minister will emerge so as to force a full leadership contest.
Blair's religious faith
Blair has rarely discussed his religious faith in public, but he is often identified as an Anglo-Catholic — that is, a member of the high church branch of the Church of England, sympathetic to the beliefs and practices of the Roman Catholic Church. His wife Cherie Booth is a practising Roman Catholic, and Blair has attended Catholic Masses at Westminster Cathedral, while on holiday in Italy, and with his family at his current home in Number 10 Downing Street. At one point, he was reprimanded by Cardinal Basil Hume for receiving Holy Communion at Mass despite not being a Roman Catholic, a contravention of Catholic doctrine.
In an interview with Michael Parkinson broadcast on ITV1 on 4 March 2006, Blair referred to the role of his Christian faith in his decision to go to war in Iraq, stating that he had prayed about the issue, and saying that God would judge him for his decision: "I think if you have faith about these things, you realise that judgement is made by other people … and if you believe in God, it's made by God as well." His comments were later interpreted by some of his critics as indicating that he believed that God had endorsed his decision to participate in the invasion.
Which part of the political spectrum Tony Blair occupies is disputed. Many Britons would place him in the centre ground. His party (Labour) is a socialist political party, and Conservatives consider him left of centre. Yet some of his Labour-party backbenchers and other Left-wing critics would place him to the right of centre. Blair rarely applies such labels to himself, though he promised, in advance of the 1997 election, that New Labour would govern "from the radical centre", and he is on record as describing himself as a " social democrat".
An overview of Blair's policies gives an idea of the difficulty of defining him politically. He has raised taxes; implemented redistributive policies (to a rather larger extent than popularly realised); introduced a minimum wage and some new employment rights (while keeping Margaret Thatcher's trade union legislation); introduced significant constitutional reforms (which remain incomplete and controversial); promoted new rights for gay people in the Civil Partnerships Act; and signed treaties integrating Britain more closely with the EU). He has also firmly supported George W. Bush's foreign policy (while reportedly attempting to act as a restraining influence on him); introduced substantial market-based reforms in the education and health sectors; introduced student tuition fees; sought to reduce certain categories of welfare payments; and introduced tough anti-terrorism and identity card legislation (with claimed public support).
The criticism of Tony Blair includes accusations of dishonesty and authoritarianism, as well as criticism about his alliance with U.S. President George W. Bush, and his policies in the Middle East, including the Iraq War, the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Signs of increasing public animosity towards him came in a poll by the British television station Channel 4 in 2003 which found Tony Blair listed as first in a list of the one hundred worst Britons.
Spin, authoritarianism and alleged dishonesty
A widely-levelled criticism of Blair and his subordinates is that they make use of spin to such an extent that his government has fundamentally lost credibility with the British public. It is also claimed that the Government has on occasions crossed the line between selective presentation of information and deliberate misleading.
Blair is perceived by many as an excessively autocratic leader, paying insufficient attention both to the views of his own Cabinet colleagues and to those of the House of Commons. His style is sometimes compared to not that of a prime minister and head of government, which he is, but more to a president and head of state, which he is not.
Blair has consistently supported the police and sought to increase police powers. While this policy initially attracted widespread support, the government's legislative response to the threat of militant Islamism has been regarded by some as authoritarian.
Blair has often (particularly after the invasion of Iraq) been labelled as an insincere "King of Spin" and "Phoney Tony", and has been accused of cronyism in his perceived penchant for promoting his friends to top jobs (Tony's Cronies). In his early years, Blair was often criticised as an unscrupulous opportunist who was solely interested in doing anything that would get him elected, a focus group politician. More recently, his unpopular support of the United States over Iraq has shown more commitment to his own beliefs, despite public opposition. His name has been deliberately mis-spelt 'Tony Bliar' (sometimes 'B. Liar') or 'Tory Blur' by critics of his actions and his policies (particularly his stance on Iraq). The Economist on 5 June 2003 devoted its front cover to a photograph of Blair and the headline, "Bliar?".
Relationship with the United States
Along with enjoying a close relationship with Bill Clinton during the latter's time in office, Blair has formed a strong political alliance with President George W. Bush of the United States of America, particularly in the area of foreign policy: at one point, Nelson Mandela described Blair as "the US foreign minister". For his part, President Bush has lauded Blair and the UK. In his post-September 11 speech, for example, he stated that "America has no truer friend than Great Britain". The alliance between Bush and Blair has seriously damaged Blair's standing in the eyes of many British people.
Middle East policy and links with Israel
One of Blair's first actions in joining the Labour Party was to join Labour Friends of Israel. In 1994, a friend and former colleague of Blair at 11 King's Bench Walk Chambers, Eldred Tabachnik, Q.C. (one time president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews) introduced Blair to Michael Levy, later Lord Levy, a pop music mogul and major fundraiser for Jewish and Israeli causes, at a dinner party hosted by the Israeli diplomat Gideon Meir. Blair and Levy soon became close friends and tennis partners. Levy ran the Labour Leader's Office Fund to finance Blair's campaign before the 1997 General Election and received substantial contributions from such figures as Alex Bernstein and Robert Gavron, both of whom were ennobled by Blair after he came to power. Levy was created a life peer by Blair in 1997, and in 2002, just prior to the Iraq War, Blair appointed Levy as his personal envoy to the Middle East. Levy has praised Blair for his "solid and committed support of the State of Israel" and has been described himself as "a leading international Zionist". In 2004, Blair was heavily criticised by 50 former diplomats, including ambassadors to Baghdad and Tel Aviv for his policy on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the Iraq War. They stated they had "watched with deepening concern" at Britain following the U.S. into war in Iraq in 2003 also stating, "We feel the time has come to make our anxieties public, in the hope that they will be addressed in parliament and will lead to a fundamental reassessment," and asked Blair to exert "real influence as a loyal ally". The ambassadors also accused the allies of having "no effective plan" for the aftermath of the invasion of Iraq and the apparent disregard for the lives of Iraqi civilians. They diplomats also criticised Blair for his support for the road map which included the retaining of settlements on the West Bank stating, "Our dismay at this backward step is heightened by the fact that you yourself seem to have endorsed it, abandoning the principles which for nearly four decades have guided international efforts to restore peace in the Holy Land".
In 2006, Blair was heavily criticised for his failure to call for a ceasefire in the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict, with members of his cabinet openly criticising Israel. Jack Straw, the Leader of the House of Commons and former Foreign Secretary stated that Israel's actions risked destabilising all of Lebanon and that it was "very difficult to understand the kind of military tactics used by Israel", "These are not surgical strikes but have instead caused death and misery amongst innocent civilians.". The Observer newspaper claimed that at a cabinet meeting before Blair left for a summit with President George Bush on July 28, 2006, a significant number of ministers pressured Blair to publicly criticise Israel over the scale of deaths and destruction in Lebanon.
Relationship with Labour party
Blair's apparent refusal to set a date for his departure has been criticised by the British press and members of parliament. It has been reported that a number of cabinet ministers believed that Blair's timely departure from office would be required to be able to win a fourth election. Some ministers viewed Blair's announcement of policy initiatives in September 2006 as an attempt to draw attention away from these issues. Upon his return from his holiday in the West Indies he announced that all the speculation about his leaving must stop. This stirred not only his traditional critics but also traditional party loyalists.
While the Blair government has introduced social policies supported by the left of the Labour Party, such as the minimum wage and measures to reduce child poverty, Blair is seen on economic and management issues as being to the right of much of the party. A possible comparison may be made with American Democrats such as Joe Lieberman, who have been accused by their party's "base" of adopting their opponents' political stances. Some critics describe Blair as a reconstructed neoconservative or Thatcherite. He is occasionally described as "Son of Thatcher", though Lady Thatcher herself rejected this identification in an interview with ITV1 on the night of the 2005 election, saying that in her opinion the resemblances were superficial.
In May 2006, the Daily Telegraph reported that Blair's personal approval rating had dipped to just 26 per cent, lower than Harold Wilson's rating after devaluation of the pound and James Callaghan's during the Winter of Discontent, meaning that Blair had become the most unpopular post-war Labour Prime Minister. Of all British Prime Ministers, only Margaret Thatcher and John Major have recorded lower approval (the former in the aftermath of the Poll Tax Riots). Previously Blair had achieved the highest approval ratings of any British Prime Minister of either party in the months following his election in 1997.
Portrayals in fiction
- Michael Sheen has portrayed Blair twice in the films The Deal (2003) and The Queen (2006).
- Tony Blair made a cameo appearance as himself in The Simpsons episode, The Regina Monologues (2003).
- Blair, Tony (2003). Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction: The Assessment of the British Government Diane Publishing, ISBN 0-7567-3102-X
- Blair, Tony (2002). The Courage of Our Convictions Fabian Society, ISBN 0-7163-0603-4
- Blair, Tony (2000). Superpower: Not Superstate? (Federal Trust European Essays) Federal Trust for Education & Research, ISBN 1-903403-25-1
- Blair, Tony (1998). The Third Way: New Politics for the New Century Fabian Society, ISBN 0-7163-0588-7
- Blair, Tony (1998). Leading the Way: New Vision for Local Government Institute for Public Policy Research, ISBN 1-86030-075-8
- Blair, Tony (1997). New Britain: My Vision of a Young Country Basic Books, ISBN 0-8133-3338-5
- Blair, Tony (1995). Let Us Face the Future Fabian Society, ISBN 0-7163-0571-2
- Blair, Tony (1994). What Price Safe Society? Fabian Society, ISBN 0-7163-0562-3
- Blair, Tony (1994). Socialism Fabian Society, ISBN 0-7163-0565-8
- Blair, T. (2004). "Blair, The Right Hon. A. C. L." from Who's Who, 156th ed., London: A & C Black.
- Halsbury's Laws of England (2004), reference to impeachment in volume on Constitutional Law and Human Rights, paragraph 416
- The Queen (2006 film)
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
| Member of Parliament for Sedgefield
1983 – present
| Shadow Home Secretary
1992 – 1994
| Leader of the Opposition
1994 – 1997
| Leader of the British Labour Party
1994 – present
|Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
1997 – present
| Chair of the G8
|Prime Ministers of the United Kingdom|
|Walpole, Wilmington, Pelham, Newcastle, Devonshire, Newcastle, Bute, G Grenville, Rockingham, Chatham (Pitt the Elder), Grafton, North, Rockingham, Shelburne, Portland, Pitt the Younger, Addington, Pitt the Younger, W Grenville, Portland, Perceval, Liverpool, Canning, Goderich, Wellington, Grey, Melbourne, Peel, Melbourne, Peel, Russell, Derby, Aberdeen, Palmerston, Derby, Palmerston, Russell, Derby, Disraeli, Gladstone, Disraeli, Gladstone, Salisbury, Gladstone, Salisbury, Gladstone, Rosebery, Salisbury, Balfour, Campbell-Bannerman, Asquith, Lloyd George, Bonar Law, Baldwin, MacDonald, Baldwin, MacDonald, Baldwin, Chamberlain, Churchill, Attlee, Churchill, Eden, Macmillan, Douglas-Home, Wilson, Heath, Wilson, Callaghan, Thatcher, Major, Blair|
|Leaders of the Labour Party|
|Keir Hardie, Arthur Henderson, George Nicoll Barnes, Ramsay MacDonald, Arthur Henderson, William Adamson, John Robert Clynes, Ramsay MacDonald, Arthur Henderson, George Lansbury, Clement Attlee, Hugh Gaitskell, George Alfred Brown, Harold Wilson, James Callaghan, Michael Foot, Neil Kinnock, John Smith, Margaret Beckett, Tony Blair|