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Saturday, 20 May, 2000, 02:24 GMT 03:24 UK
Tony and Cherie's nine months

Tony and Cherie Blair have packed a lot into the past nine months, riding a rollercoaster of personal and professional highs and lows.

The couple's undisguised delight at the imminent arrival of their fourth child contrasted sharply with Mrs Blair's behind-closed-doors efforts to block the publication of a former nanny's memoirs.

On the political stage, Mr Blair headed the Labour Party campaign against the prominent London left-winger, Ken Livingstone, being elected mayor, and faced tough questions over his government's performance.

holiday snap
Holiday snap: The Blairs in Tuscany

August 1999: The couple take their children, Euan, (then 15) Nicky (13), and Kathryn (11), on holiday to France and Italy to enjoy the sun-soaked delights of the Mediterranean.

September: Now five weeks pregnant, Cherie Blair, 45, tells her 46-year-old husband he is about to become a father again - the first new baby for a serving prime minister in more than 150 years. She breaks the news on the eve of the Labour Party conference in Bournemouth, and they agree to keep the pregnancy secret until December.

Outside Number 10
The happy couple go public with the news

18 November: On the eve of rival tabloids publishing the "scoop of the year", the Prime Minister's spokesman confirms Mrs Blair is pregnant.

Cynics question whether Downing St engineered the release to deflect attention from the messy London mayoral candidate selection process, in which Mr Blair unsuccessfully tried to block Mr Livingstone making the shortlist.

22 November: The University of Westminster confers an honorary Doctorate of Law degree on Mrs Blair, a leading employment barrister.

1 January 2000: The Blairs celebrate New Year's Eve at the Millennium Dome, giving a lusty rendition of Auld Lang Syne.

Cherie Blair flashes her train ticket

10 January: Mrs Blair is fined 10 after she fails to buy a ticket for her journey from Blackfriars to Luton, where she sits as a crown recorder at Luton Crown Court.

Downing St says she had had insufficient cash for the 9.60 ticket, and had been unable to use her credit card at the ticket machine at the London station as it took only cash.

3 February: Mrs Blair wins the right to take the case of a blacklisted teacher to the High Court. Her client, who faced unproven allegations of sexually abusing his pupils, is fighting his name appearing on the Health Consultancy Service Index of people deemed unsuitable to work with children.

Rosalind Mark, the nanny who tried to tell all

5 March: Mrs Blair slaps an injunction on the Mail on Sunday to block the publication of the memoirs of the family's former nanny, Rosalind Mark.

Although barred from spelling out the details, columnists gleefully recount that the nanny's literary efforts revolve mainly around the contents of the Downing St fridge.

Mrs Blair later drops legal action against Ms Mark and her agent, Jonathan Harris; and settles with the newspaper's publisher.

Blairs and Putin
Closer ties: Meeting Vladimir Putin

11 March: The Blairs pay a flying visit to St Petersburg to meet Vladimir Putin, then the acting president of Russia.

Mr Blair becomes the first western leader to meet the ex-KGB agent since he took over from Boris Yeltsin at the end of last year.

The Prime Minister presses Mr Putin to allow an investigation into alleged human rights abuses in Chechnya, but hails the Russian leader as a fellow moderniser.

5 May: As the results come in from London's local elections, the mayoral saga comes to a humiliating close for Mr Blair.

mayoral election
Pregnant pause: Voting for London mayor

Londoners vote Ken Livingstone into the capital's top job - the former party stalwart standing as an independent after Labour snubbed him in favour of Frank Dobson as its official candidate.

20 May: A new son for Cherie and Tony Blair born in the early hours at the Westminster and Chelsea Hospital.

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