Blair, Tony

Anthony Charles Lynton Blair

b. 6 May 1953, Edinburgh, Scotland

Title: Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury [1]
Term: 2 May 1997 - 27 Jun 2007
Chronology: 2 May 1997, invited to form an Administration and accepted the offer to hold the post of Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury, audience of the Queen, Buckingham Palace, London [2][3]
3 May 1997, took the oath of office as First Lord of the Treasury and Minister for Civil Service before the Queen in Council, Buckingham Palace, London [4]
27 Jun 2007, tendered resignation as Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury (accepted), audience of the Queen, Buckingham Palace, London [5]
Names/titles: Commonly known as Tony Blair
Biography:
Born in the family of a lawyer; attended Chorister School, Durham (1961-1966); received secondary education at Fettes College, Edinburgh (1966-1971); made an attempt to become a rock band promoter in London (1971-1972); read law at St. John's College, Oxford (1972-1975); graduated in 1975 with a second-class degree and shortly after joined the Labour Party; was called to the Bar at Lincoln's Inn (1976), and practiced as a barrister until 1983; contested Beaconsfield at by-election (1982), receiving only 10 percent of the vote; elected to Parliament as Labour MP for Sedgefield (1983-2007); after holding a few front-bench positions, he entered the Shadow Cabinet as shadow Secretary of State for Energy (1988-1989); served as shadow Employment Secretary (1989-1992) and shadow Home Secretary (1992-1994); was elected to the Labour's National Executive Committee (1992); following the death of John Smith, he was elected Leader of the Labour Party (21 Jul 1994 - 24 Jun 2007) and became Leader of the Opposition (1994-1997); sworn in as a member of the UK Privy Council (27 Jul 1994); despite his early affection for 'socialism' (maiden speech in Parliament 6 Jul 1983), he emerged together with Gordon Brown as chief architect of modernization of the Labour Party known as "New Labour" course which marked the shift to right and distancing from the ideals of socialism; presided over the alteration of the party's constitution (1995) in favor of free-market policies; benefiting from the unpopularity of the administration of John Major in the mid-1990s, the New Labour won a landslide victory at the General Election of 1997 (1 May 1997: Labour 419, Conservative 165, Liberal Democrats 46, Ulster Unionists 10, Scottish National Party 6, Plaid Cymru 4, Social Democratic and Labour 3, Democratic Unionists 2, Sinn Féin 2, others 3); was appointed Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury (2 May 1997 - 27 Jun 2007); secured the signing of the Belfast Agreement (1998) providing for continuous peace process in Northern Ireland; oversaw the creation of the Scottish Parliament (Pàrlamaid na h-Alba) and National Assembly for Wales (Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru) in 1999; vigorously supported British involvement into the Kosovo War (1999) aimed at supporting Albanian guerillas and toppling the government of Slobodan Milošević in Yugoslavia; continued in office after another successful Labour electoral campaign in the General Election of 2001 (7 Jun 2001: Labour 413, Conservative 166, Liberal Democrats 52, Ulster Unionists 6, Scottish National Party 5, Democratic Unionists 5, Plaid Cymru 4, Sinn Féin 4, Social Democratic and Labour 3, others 1); formed a strong alliance with the U.S. President George W. Bush after the attacks on New York and Washington in 2001; committed British troops to military action in Afghanistan (from 2001); joined the U.S. invasion of Iraq on a false pretext of possession of weapons of mass destruction (2003); raised taxes in order to increase spending on education and health (2002); although Labour majority in Parliament was reduced after the 2005 General Election (5 May 2005: Labour 356, Conservative 198, Liberal Democrats 62, Democratic Unionists 9, Scottish National Party 6, Sinn Féin 5, Plaid Cymru 3, Social Democratic and Labour 3, others 4), he stayed in office; postponed a referendum (2005) on the constitution of the European Union promised in his speech in 2004; following the 2005 London bombings, his government proposed controversial measures to combat terrorism and was defeated in a vote in the House of Commons (9 Nov 2005); authoritarian style ('presidentialism') and growing dissatisfaction with disastrous conduct of the Iraq war undermined his authority, leading to appeal for his resignation signed by Labour MPs (5 Sep 2006); announced his intention to resign both as party leader and Prime Minister (2 May 2007) and named the date (27 Jun 2007) in another speech 10 May 2007; was succeeded as Leader of the Labour Party by Gordon Brown (24 Jun 2007) and tendered his resignation as Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury (27 Jun 2007); was appointed official Envoy of the Quartet on the Middle East and stepped down as MP; converted to Roman Catholicism (2007).
Biographical sources: "Blair", by Anthony Seldon (London: Free Press, 2004).

[1] In accordance with The Minister for the Civil Service Order 1968 (SI 1968/1656), the Prime Minister is also Minister for the Civil Service (effective 1 Nov 1968).
[2] The Times, No. 65,880, Saturday May 3 1997, p. 22: "Court Circular BUCKINGHAM PALACE May 2: The Rt Hon John Major had an audience of The Queen and tendered his resignation as Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury which Her Majesty was graciously pleased to accept. The Queen subsequently received in audience the Rt Hon Anthony Blair and requested him to form a new Administration."
[3] Appointment as Lord Commissioner of the Treasury by Letters Patent under the Great Seal is dated 12 May 1997, announced by the Crown Office 12 May 1997, and gazetted 16 May 1997 (The London Gazette, No. 54767, Friday, 16th May 1997, p. 5777).
[4] The Times, No. 65,881, Monday May 5 1997, p. 22: "Court Circular. Buckingham Palace May 3: The Queen held a Council at 6.00 this evening. <...> The Rt Hon Anthony Blair was sworn in as First Lord of the Treasury and Minister for Civil Service and kissed hands upon appointment."
[5] The Times, No. 69,050, Thursday June 28 2007, p. 80: "Court Circular. Buckingham Palace 27th June, 2007 <...> The Rt. Hon Tony Blair MP had an audience of The Queen this afternoon and tendered his resignation as Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury which Her Majesty was graciously pleased to accept."
Last updated on: 15 May 2010 01:53:43