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Last Updated: Thursday, 27 April 2006, 11:56 GMT 12:56 UK
Timeline: Labour's third term woes
Tony Blair
Tony Blair has faced intense pressure in his third term
With three of his senior ministers in the spotlight for the wrong reasons, Tony Blair has suffered what the media are calling his "Black Wednesday".

However, these are just the latest political problems which have hit the Labour Party during his third term as prime minister.

MAY 2005

Tony Blair comes under fire days after Labour's third successive election victory when he appoints one of his policy advisers as a minister.

Andrew Adonis, said to be the driving force behind the controversial top-up fees policy, is given a peerage and a job in the education department sparking accusations of "cronyism".

JUNE 2005

Tony Blair is forced to defend his wife Cherie after she is accused of "cashing in" on her position with a lucrative speaking engagement in the US.

The row centres on Mrs Blair's decision to give a talk in Washington - billed as the inside account of the "First Lady of Downing Street" - while Mr Blair was in the city for talks with President George W Bush. She earns 30,000 for the appearance.

SEPTEMBER 2005

Labour's conference exposes divisions within the party and sees the government defeated in votes on several of its policies including plans to expand the use of private firms in the NHS.

The event is overshadowed by the treatment of an 82-year-old activist who is thrown out after heckling Foreign Secretary Jack Straw during a speech.

Walter Wolfgang, from London, is cheered when he returns to the conference in Brighton.

NOVEMBER 2005

David Blunkett is forced to resign from the Cabinet for a second time after breaking the ministerial code of conduct over paid work he took while out of the Cabinet.

The work and pensions secretary, who had stepped down as home secretary in December 2004, should have consulted an independent committee before taking up a directorship at DNA Bioscience.

Labour rebels join forces with Tory and Lib Dem MPs to defeat the government's plans to detain terror suspects for up to 90 days without charge.

It is Tony Blair's first Commons defeat since becoming prime minister in 1997.

JANUARY 2006

Education Secretary Ruth Kelly comes under fire when it emerges that she gave a registered sex offender clearance to work as a teacher.

She later admits that 88 people with cautions or convictions for sex offences have not been banned from classrooms.

Ms Kelly announces that anyone put on the sex offenders' register in future for offences against children will be banned from teaching.

FEBRUARY 2006

Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell finds herself in the spotlight after her husband is accused of accepting a bribe from Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

Italian officials say corporate lawyer David Mills, 60, was paid to give false testimony in court for Mr Berlusconi - a claim Mr Mills denies.

Ms Jowell is cleared of breaching the ministers' code of conduct - because her husband did not tell her about a 344,000 gift - but the couple decide to separate.

MARCH 2006

A row about "cash for peerages" forces the Labour Party to reveal the names of 12 wealthy businessmen who secretly lent it nearly 14m before the general election.

The move comes as Labour continues to deny sleaze claims after it emerges that some of the lenders were later recommended for peerages.

APRIL 2006

Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt faces intense criticism for saying the NHS has enjoyed its "best ever year" despite huge job losses and mounting financial problems.

Home Secretary Charles Clarke is urged to resign after he admitted the Home Office freed 1,023 foreign prisoners who should have been considered for deportation.

The home secretary insisted he should stay to sort the problem out, and received backing from Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott confesses to having had an affair with one of his secretaries.

Downing Street says the Hull East MP's relationship with Tracey Temple is a "private matter".




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