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Last Updated: Tuesday, 8 May 2007, 21:35 GMT 22:35 UK
The 'Blair babes': Where are they now?
Tony Blair with most of the 101 Labour MPs of 1997

The 101 women Labour MPs - or Blair Babes as they were called - were all smiles and waves in 1997, flanking the newly-elected Tony Blair. Never before had there been so many women in Parliament, let alone from one party. They arrived full of hope. What became of them?

1 Christine McCafferty (Calder Valley) - Still an MP, active in areas such as women's issues, she has been a Labour rebel at times, most recently about renewing the nuclear submarine system.

2 Helen Liddell (Airdrie & Shotts) - First elected in 1994 to the Scottish seat previously held by Labour leader John Smith. She began her ministerial career in 1997, holding various posts including with the Treasury, education and transport portfolios. She joined the Cabinet in 2001 when she became the first female Secretary of State for Scotland. She left the Cabinet in 2003, did not stand for re-election in 2005, becoming the British High Commissioner to Australia in July 2005.

3 Bridget Prentice (Lewisham East) - Ms Prentice went from being an opposition whip to taking up the same role for the Labour government in 1997. She has had stints as Parliamentary Private Secretary first to Brian Wilson, and subsequently to Lord Irvine and is now a constitutional affairs minister.

4 Alice Mahon (Halifax) - retired at the 2005 election

5 Judith Church (Dagenham) - stood down at the 2001 election, saying she wanted to spend more time with her young sons.

6 Jackie Lawrence (Preseli Pembrokeshire) - was secretary of the Welsh Parliamentary Labour Party but stood down at 2005 election.

7 Joan Ruddock (Lewisham Deptford) - A high-profile Greenham Common protester, Ms Ruddock was elected to Parliament in 1987 and was on the frontbench until Labour came to power in 1997 when she was shifted to the unpaid post of minister for women, and then dropped in Blair's first reshuffle. She remains an active backbencher.

Ann Clwyd
Ann Clwyd

8 Ann Clwyd (Cynon Valley) - In December 2006 she became the first sitting chairman of the Parliamentary Labour Party to be voted out of the post - losing by 13 votes. She was Blair's special envoy on human rights in Iraq from 2003 to 2005 - possibly leading some backbenchers to regard her as being too close to Tony Blair.

9 Claire Curtis-Thomas (Crosby) - won Crosby on a huge swing in 1997 to become the first ever Labour MP for the seat. Did not make an immediate impact in the Commons because she gave birth to her third child soon after the election and took six months off from Parliament. She remains an MP.

Estelle Morris
Estelle Morris

10 Estelle Morris (Birmingham Yardley) - When Labour came to power in 1997, Ms Morris had been an MP for five years and was appointed as an under secretary to the Department for Education and Employment. She became the first secretary of state for the new Department for Education and Skills after the 2001 election. But in October 2002, after a series of fiascos she surprisingly quit, saying she was not up to the job. After a backbench stint, she returned as a junior arts minister in 2003 but finally stood down as an MP at the 2005 election. She was made a life peer in 2005 and is pro-vice chancellor of Sunderland University.

11 Ann Coffey (Stockport) - Despite being a whip and a health spokeswoman in her first term in Parliament before Labour came to power, she was not promoted to minister, instead serving as Parliamentary Private Secretary to Tony Blair. She is currently in the same role for Trade Secretary Alistair Darling.

12 Lynda Clark (Edinburgh Pentlands) - Did not stand for re-election in 2005 and was appointed a life peer in July 2005.

13 Diane Abbott (Hackney North & Stoke Newington) - She was Britain's first black woman MP when elected in 1987. She has been a vocal critic of her own party, and managed to ride out the storm caused by her sending her son to a fee-paying school. Is now a political pundit on the BBC's late night This Week show.

14 Maria Eagle (Liverpool Garston) - Junior minister at the Northern Ireland Office.

Hilary Armstrong
Hilary Armstrong
15 Hilary Armstrong (Durham North West) - Promoted into the cabinet as chief whip after the 2001 election, Ms Armstrong was previously minister for local government. She was backed by Tony Blair in February 2006, following the government's embarrassing defeat over religious hate laws. The prime minister himself missed the Commons vote, which the government lost by one vote.

16 Joan Walley (Stoke-on-Trent North) - After five years as opposition spokeswoman on transport, she was dropped shortly before Labour came to power. Remains an active backbencher.

Ruth Kelly
Ruth Kelly

17 Ruth Kelly (Bolton West) - Currently Communities and Local Government Secretary, having been Education Secretary for a tumultuous 17 months. She survived opposition calls for her resignation in a row over sex offenders in schools, and also sending her son to a fee-paying school, but continues to have the prime minister's support. Her first child was born just 11 days after she took the marginal seat of Bolton West from the Conservatives in 1997, and holds a record by giving birth to four children while being an MP.

18 Fiona MacTaggart (Slough) - Ms MacTaggart proved herself one of Labour's most able new MPs after her election in 1997. She became a junior minister in the Home Office. She used to chair civil rights campaign group Liberty and takes a particular interest in immigration and asylum issues

Mo Mowlam and Tony Blair
Mo Mowlam and Tony Blair

19 Mo Mowlam (Redcar) - Former Northern Ireland Secretary and renowned for her "personal touch" in politics, she died in August 2005, after having suffered a brain tumour which was originally diagnosed in 1997. During her time in Northern Ireland - from May 1997 until October 1999 - she oversaw the historic Good Friday Agreement.

20 Tessa Jowell (Dulwich & West Norwood) - Culture, Media and Sport Secretary, whose remit covers the UK switch-over from analogue to digital television and the BBC's charter renewal, as well as gambling and the London 2012 Olympics. In the 1997 Parliament, she served as a minister throughout, initially at the Department of Health and later as minister for equal opportunities.

21 Janet Anderson (Rossendale & Darwen) - Initially a government whip in 1997 and then under-secretary in the Culture, Media and Sport department, she suffered the same fate as the rest of that department's ministers - with a return to the backbenches following the re-shuffle in 2001.

22 Helen Brinton (Peterborough) - Defeated in the 2005 election.

23 Jane Kennedy (Liverpool Wavertree) - First elected in 1992, Ms Kennedy became a government whip when Blair came to power and has worked in many government departments, including health, work and pensions, and Northern Ireland Office. She quit as a health minister in 2006 over concerns about the impact NHS reforms would have on her local children's hospital.

24 Linda Gilroy (Plymouth Sutton) - Was at the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister until 2005, now a backbencher.

25 Debra Shipley (Stourbridge) - She did not stand for re-election in 2005, retiring after being diagnosed with breast cancer. She said the highlight of her political career was the introduction of the Protection of Children Act, which established a register of child abusers that must be checked by childcare organisations taking on new staff.

Valerie Davey
Valerie Davey
26 Valerie Davey (Bristol West) - When she won her seat, it had been a Conservative stronghold for 100 years. But she lost it to the Lib Dems in 2005.

27 Betty Williams (Conwy) - Finally won her seat after two previous attempts in the area where she was a councillor since the 1960s. Backbencher.

28 Tess Kingham (Gloucester) - Stood down at the 2001 general election, leaving with a scathing attack on the "public school atmosphere and outdated practises" of Westminster. She had called for a Commons creche, but denied her departure was just to spend more time with her three young children.

29 Gwyneth Dunwoody (Crewe) - She is the party's longest serving female MP, having first served as MP for Exeter 1966-70 and as MP for Crewe and Nantwich since 1974. She has been a thorn in the government's side, once being ousted as chair of the transport select committee before MP pressure led to her reinstatement.

30 Llin Golding (Newcastle-under-Lyme) - While chairwoman of the "Middle Way Group" which supported statutory regulation of fox hunting rather than an outright ban, police warned her she could face action from animal rights campaigners. She became Baroness Golding in 2001.

Tony Blair and Rosie Winterton
Tony Blair and Rosie Winterton

31 Rosie Winterton (Doncaster Central) - She entered Parliament in 1997 in a plum Labour seat, which she still represents. Her first government post was in 2001 as a junior minister in the Lord Chancellor's Department and she is now a health minister.

32 Ann Cryer (Keighley) - Elected in 1997 - the same election that her son John became MP for Hornchurch. Often rebels against the party and has campaigned strongly against forced marriages. A member of the Home Affairs select committee.

33 Ann Keen (Brentford & Isleworth) - Parliamentary Private Secretary to Chancellor Gordon Brown since 2001, which suggests she may have a bright future ahead if and when he becomes Labour leader.

34 Audrey Wise (Preston) - Died in September 2000 from a brain tumour. She had held Preston for 13 years and was a respected member of the health select committee.

35 Yvette Cooper (Pontefract & Castleford) - Ms Cooper has been a rising star since entering in 1997. She is currently minister for housing and planning in the department which deals with communities and local government. She had previously been minister for public health and worked in the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. She is married to Ed Balls, who became an MP himself in the 2005 General Election, and is now the economic secretary to the Treasury. She was the first serving minister to take maternity leave when, as a health minister responsible for maternity leave, she took time off in 2001.

36 Diana Organ (Forest of Dean) - She was a new entrant in 1997 and was interested in local issues, including agriculture, housing and planning. Stood down at the 2005 election.

37 Candy Atherton (Falmouth & Camborne) - Ms Atherton was Cornwall's only Labour MP at the 2005 general election, but lost to the Liberal Democrats, having held the seat for eight years. She was taken to an employment tribunal after her gay researcher claimed she asked him to "dig up dirt" about a political rival's sexuality. Ms Atherton denied the allegation and the claim was thrown out.

38 Joyce Quin (Gateshead East and Washington West) - First elected to the Commons in 1987, but had been MEP for Tyne and Wear for eight years. At the 1997 election she became a junior Home Office minister, then minister for Europe and agriculture minister during the foot-and-mouth crisis. Stepped down at the 2001 election and became a life peer in 2006.

Angela Eagle
Angela Eagle
39 Angela Eagle (Wallasey) - She was first elected in 1992, five years before her twin sister Maria. She was a junior environment minister in 1997, promoted to the DSS and then immigration matters at the Home Office from where she was dumped in the May 2002 ministerial reshuffle.

40 Angela Smith (Basildon) - She took the totemic seat of Basildon from the Conservatives in 1997, holding it with a reduced majority in 2001. A Parliamentary career of steady, if low-key achievement, has seen her progress to being a Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State in the Northern Ireland Office from 2002-06, and then at the Department for Communities and Local Government 2006.

41 Eileen Gordon (Romford) - Lost her seat in 2001.

42 Christine Butler (Castle Point) - Lost her seat in 2001

43 Oona King (Bethnal Green & Bow) - Former MP and New Labour loyalist, Ms King was defeated in the 2005 general election after losing out to ex-Labour MP and Respect Leader George Galloway. He beat her by just 823 votes, fighting the election in a constituency with a large Muslim population, on an anti-Iraq war platform. Ms King denied her loyalty to Tony Blair had proved decisive in the constituency.

Harriet Harman
Harriet Harman

44 Harriet Harman (Camberwell & Peckham) - A Labour stalwart, close to both Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, she became social security secretary in 1997. She resigned a year later following high profile disputes with fellow minister Frank Field and backbench anger over cuts to lone parent benefits. But she made a comeback in 2001 as solicitor general and is now minister of state in constitutional affairs. Running for the deputy leadership when John Prescott steps down.

45 Barbara Roche (Hornsey & Wood Green) - In 1997 she was appointed minister for small firms, then became financial secretary to the Treasury. After the 2001 election, she was moved to a role co-ordinating regional policy in the Cabinet Office, but she stepped down from the government in the June 2003 reshuffle. She lost her seat in 2005.

46 Judy Mallaber (Amber Valley) - Still an MP. Active in various areas, and most recently campaigned successfully to allow banks to withdraw credit cards from people who pay to access child pornography on the internet.

47 Siobhain McDonagh (Mitcham & Morden) - She gained her seat on her third attempt. A loyal backbencher, she is Parliamentary Private Secretary to John Reid, first when he was Defence Secretary and now as Home Secretary.

48 Louise Ellman (Liverpool Riverside) - Still an MP, a member of the transport select committee, interested in Middle East issues and generally seen as a loyalist.

49 Joan Humble (Blackpool North & Fleetwood) - Still an MP.

50 Laura Moffat (Crawley) - Still an MP, just. In the 2005 general election she held onto her Crawley seat by just 37 votes - the smallest majority of all MPs in that election. She had been defending a majority of 6,770.

Karen Buck
Karen Buck
51 Karen Buck (Regent's Park and Kensington North) - She was tipped during her first Parliament as a future minister, but surprised colleagues in 2001 when she turned down a place in the Whips' Office to remain on the back benches. She hit the headlines last year when she took her son out of one of the government's flagship City Academies, saying the teaching facilities and accommodation were "appalling".

52 Sylvia Heal (Haleowen & Rowley Regis) - She has been deputy speaker since 2000, having been a Parliamentary Private Secretary to defence secretaries between 1997 and 2000.

53 Rosemary McKenna (Cumbernauld & Kilsyth) - Still an MP. She was a Parliamentary Private Secretary to Foreign Office ministers, but lost the role after the 2001 reshuffle. She was re-elected in 2005, with 50.99% of the vote. She is a member of several select committees including Culture, Media and Sport, the Procedure committee and liaison committee.

54 Maria Fyfe (Glasgow Maryhill) - Stood down in 2001.

55 Irene Adams (Paisley North) - Now Baroness Adams, having been made a life peer in 2005. Her Paisley North constituency was absorbed into that of Paisley and Renfrewshire North, and sitting West Renfrewshire MP Jim Sheridan was chosen to fight the new seat in the 2005 general election.

56 Jean Corston (Bristol East) - Now Baroness Corston, stepped down as MP for Bristol East in 2005. She hurt her ankle in 2003 in a fall at the House of Commons and said she had never really fully recovered and would not have the stamina to fight the 2005 General Election. During her Commons career she became the Parliamentary Labour Party's first chairwoman - the "shop steward" of the back benches.

57 Melanie Johnson (Welwyn Hatfield) - Now working as a customer rights expert in the insurance industry, she lost her seat to Tory Grant Shapps in 2005. She served as a junior health minister, and then a junior Treasury minister, between 1999 and 2005.

Joan Ryan
Joan Ryan
58 Joan Ryan (Enfield North) - A Home Office minister, handling the government's controversial plans to introduce ID cards.

59 Julia Drown (Swindon South) - A former accountant, she was involved in the campaign to make Parliament more female-friendly during the early years of the Blair premiership. She stepped down as an MP in 2005.

60 Phyllis Starkey (Milton Keynes South West) - Previously the leader of Oxford City Council, she has been a loyal supporter of the Blair government. She has taken a particular interest in Middle East affairs and remains an MP.

61 Helen Jones (Warrington North) - The former lawyer remains an MP. In 2005 she won praise from some quarters for her speech querying the government's plans to introduce trust schools.

62 Helen Southworth (Warrington South) - Has served on the Commons trade and industry select committee and remains an MP.

63 Geraldine Smith (Morecambe & Lunesdale) - Seen as a supporter of Gordon Brown, she rose to national prominence when she spoke up for the rights of cockle pickers working in Morecambe Bay. Still an MP.

64 Hazel Blears (Salford) - Has enjoyed a steady rise up the Labour hierarchy, serving as a Home Office minister before becoming the party chairman. Has declared she will join the contest to become Labour's deputy leader when John Prescott steps down. Seen a Blair loyalist, she has, however, demonstrated against plans for a maternity unit closure in her constituency.

Fiona Jones
Fiona Jones

65 Fiona Jones (Newark) - Lost her seat in 2001 following a police probe amid claims she spent more on her election campaign than was allowed by law. She had been convicted of false declaration of election expenses, but this was overturned on appeal. She died at her home in January 2007 of natural causes - but her husband and her former agent said the heavy drinking culture at Westminster plus the stress of the court case contributed.

66 Margaret Moran (Luton South) - After the 2001 election, she became a government whip, but returned to the backbenches in 2005.

67 Christine Russell (City of Chester) - She was a member of the environmental audit select committee from 1999 to 2001 and remains in Parliament.

68 Janet Dean (Burton) - Not a high-profile MP at Westminster, preferring to concentrate on constituency issues.

69 Kali Mountford (Colne Valley) - Still an MP, working as a Parliamentary Private Secretary to Defence Secretary Des Browne. A loyal backbencher, she was once suspended from the Commons for five days after she leaked a draft copy of a social security select committee report to the chancellor's staff.

70 Dari Taylor (Stockton South) - Still an MP.

71 Ann McGuire (Stirling) - She became an MP in 1997 after unseating the previous incumbent, Scottish Secretary Michael Forsyth. She is now a junior minister in the Department for Work and Pensions, having previously served in the whips' office and the Scotland Office.

72 Jenny Jones (Wolverhampton South West) - Left Parliament at the 2001 general election.

73 Rachel Squire (Dunfermline West) - Died from cancer in January 2006, having been diagnosed with brain tumours shortly after she was first elected to Westminster in 1992. She had served as a Parliamentary Private Secretary to ministers Stephen Byers and Estelle Morris during the 1997 parliament, but returned to the backbenches in 2001.

74 Barbara Follett (Stevenage) - Parliamentary Private Secretary to Ruth Kelly as Minister for Women since 2006. She is a high profile backbencher, and was known as the Labour Party's unofficial "image consultant" in the mid-1990s, advising male MPs to shave off their beards and moustaches.

Dawn Primarolo
Dawn Primarolo

75 Dawn Primarolo (Bristol South) - Ms Primarolo, first elected in 1987, was famous for previously championing a left-wing agenda and was once nick-named "Red Dawn" by the media. She later became a front-bencher and in 1997 became financial secretary to the Treasury and is currently Paymaster General.

76 Patricia Hewitt (Leicester West) - Secretary of State for Health, she has recently presided over the government's smoking ban. A former press secretary to Neil Kinnock before entering Parliament, Ms Hewitt had a rapid rise, including a stint as Trade and Industry Secretary since joining in the 1997 intake. But she has come under fire over health service deficits and there have been questions raised about her prospects under a Brown premiership.

77 Caroline Flint (Don Valley) - First elected in 1997, she was noted as a loyal Labour MP on the backbenches. She enjoyed stints in the Foreign Office, the DTI, and the Home Office and is currently a minister at the Department for Health under Patricia Hewitt.

78 Jacqui Smith (Redditch) - One of the most quickly promoted of the 1997 intake, Ms Smith joined the government within two years of being elected to the Commons. She has been a minister of state for health, trade and industry, and education before becoming chief whip in 2006.

79 Gisela Stuart (Birmingham Edgbaston) - Once a health minister, she lost her job in the 2001 reshuffle but remained a loyal backbencher, focusing on constituency issues and the EU.

80 Jane Griffiths (Reading East) - In 2004 she became the first Labour MP in a decade to be de-selected by her local party. The Conservatives won the seat at the next election.

81 Anne Campbell (Cambridge) - Lost her seat in 2005 when the Liberal Democrats took it - for the first time since 1906.

82 Linda Perham (Ilford North) - Lost her seat to the Conservatives in 2005.

Margaret Beckett
Margaret Beckett
83 Margaret Beckett (Derby South) - Foreign Secretary, she is one of the "great survivors" of today's Labour Party. She has kept a seat around the Cabinet table since Blair came to power and was previously Leader of the House of Commons, Trade and Industry Secretary, and Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

84 Ann Taylor (Dewsbury) - Entered the House of Lords as Baroness Taylor of Bolton in 2005 after not standing for re-election. She was a veteran Labour backbencher before 1997, and became Leader of the Commons when Labour entered government, then in 1998, she became the first female Chief Whip. She returned to the backbenches in 2001 and was chairwoman of the Security and Intelligence Committee.

85 Charlotte Atkins (Staffordshire Moorlands) - She was assistant government whip from 2002-04, and then a junior Transport minister until 2005.

86 Sally Keeble (Northampton North) - Enjoyed a rapid rise since 1997, becoming a junior minister in the Department for Transport, Local Government and Regions, and then moved to the Department for International Development until 2003. Currently a member of the Treasury select committee.

87 Gillian Merron (Lincoln) - Junior minister at the transport department.

88 Liz Blackman (Erewash) - Assistant government whip, having been a Parliamentary Private Secretary to Geoff Hoon when he was Secretary for Defence 2000-05 and then when he was Leader of the House of Commons from 2005-06.

89 Shona McIsaac (Cleethorpes) - Has been a Parliamentary Private Secretary in the Northern Ireland Office, Home Office and the Department of Trade and Industry. Is currently working under Health minister Caroline Flint.

Beverley Hughes
Beverley Hughes

90 Beverley Hughes (Stretford & Urmston) - Barely a year after being elected, Ms Hughes was on her way up to ministerial ladder, becoming a Parliamentary Private Secretary at the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (DETR) in 1998. She was promoted to the Home Office in 2001 and immigration minister in 2002 - but then in 2004 she resigned after "unwittingly" misleading people over her knowledge of lax visa checks on Romanian and Bulgarian applicants. She returned to government in the 2005 reshuffle as minister for children, young people and their families

91 Helen Jackson (Sheffield Hillsborough) - Parliamentary Private Secretary to three Northern Ireland secretaries, she retired at the 2005 election at the age of 65, having served her constituency since 1992.

92 Claire Ward (Watford) - Elected in 1997 at the age of 24, Ms Ward was politically active even as a teenager. Became a Parliamentary Private Secretary to John Hutton in the Department of Health in 2001, before her appointment as assistant government Whip 2005-06 and then whip from 2006.

93 Sandra Osborne (Ayr) - Member for Ayr from 1997-2005, then for Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock since the 2005 general election. She was Parliamentary Private Secretary in the Scotland Office, but stepped down in March 2003 because of her opposition to war with Iraq without a second UN resolution.

Margaret Hodge
Margaret Hodge

94 Margaret Hodge (Barking) - Minister for Work, Ms Hodge first entered Parliament via a by-election in 1994 and was responsible for reforming pre-school education as a junior minister in the Department for Education. She later became the government's first minister for children, before moving to the Department for Work and Pensions.

95 Lorna Fitzsimons (Rochdale) - Despite Tony Blair saying she had "a big future" in British politics, she lost her seat in the 2005 general election.

96 Anne Begg (Aberdeen South) - After being elected in 1997, she was the first Labour MP ever to retain the Aberdeen South seat when she won again in 2001. She is vice-chair of the Parliamentary Labour Party's National Policy Forum and is seen as a classic Blairite moderniser.


Kate Hoey (Vauxhall) - One of the casualties of Tony Blair's wide reshuffle after the 2001 election, when she lost her job as sports minister. She has remained a rebel backbencher since then, hitting the headlines with her support for fox hunting.

Clare Short
Clare Short
Clare Short (Birmingham Ladywood) - A Labour MP from 1983 to 2006, Ms Short turned independent in 2006. She had been the Secretary for International Development, but quit the frontbench in 2003 in protest at the Iraq war - but waiting until the worst of the initial action was over. It was the third time she had resigned and she remains a vocal critic of her former party.

Glenda Jackson (Hampstead & Highgate) - Elected in 1992, she was a junior minister in the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions in the first two years of Blair's premiership, but resigned in the July 1999 reshuffle to make a bid for Labour's candidature for the inaugural London mayoral elections. She came third, but is an advisor to Ken Livingstone on homelessness.

Lynne Jones (Birmingham Selly Oak) - A member of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs select committee, she campaigns on a range of issues including mental health, civil rights for transsexual people and the need for fixed term parliaments.

Julie Morgan (Cardiff North) - Elected in 1997, she is chair of the Welsh Group of Labour MPs and is active in womens affairs. She is married to Welsh First Minister Rhodri Morgan.

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