The Right Hon. Anthony Charles Lynton Blair, born 1953.
Born in 1953 in Edinburgh, Scotland and educated at the St. John's College, University of Oxford where he obtained a law degree. Shortly after graduation in 1975 he joined the Labour Party, running unsuccessfully for parliament in 1982 in the safe Tory seat of Beaconsfield.
During the 1983 UK general election he was elected in Sedgefield, where he has served until the present day. Following two general election defeats by Margaret Thatcher in 1983 and 1987, Blair aligned himself firmly with the reforming tendencies in the Party, headed by leader Neil Kinnock who gave Blair his first cabinet post, and worked to produce a more moderate, and electable party. When Kinnock resigned after defeat by John Major in the 1992 UK general election, Blair became Shadow Home Secretary under John Smith.
In 1994 Smith died of a heart attack. Blair and fellow shadow cabinet member Gordon Brown struck a deal that would see Blair stand for the leadership, with Brown becoming Chancellor in the event of victory. Elected using the reformed election rules he had helped to bring in, Blair and Brown set about changing the Labour Party, modifying its constitution away from committments to public ownership, focusing on presenting itself as fiscally competent (after the failures of the Conservative government of that time) and "rebranding" itself as New Labour.
Although it attracted much criticism for its alleged superficiality from both political opponents and traditionalists within the party, the transformation was nevertheless successful. Aided by a Conservative government split over policy toward the European Union and tainted by allegations of corruption, "New Labour" achieved a landslide victory over John Major in 1997 UK general election.
In 2001 UK general election he preserved his landslide at an unprecidented level, even in the face of a reduced turnout, and became the first Labour Prime Minster to serve two consecutive terms. The leader of the Conservative party, William Hague resigned and became the first Conservative party leader not to have served as Prime Minister.
Following the September 11, 2001 Terrorist Attack on the World Trade Center, Blair was quick to align the UK with the US, engaging in a round of shuttle diplomacy to help form and maintain the allied coalition prior to their attack on Afghanistan (in which British troops participated). He continues in this role to this day, showing a willingness to visit countries on diplomatic missions that other world leaders might consider too dangerous to visit.
- 1983 UK general election
- 1987 UK general election
- 1992 UK general election
- 1997 UK general election
- 2001 UK general election