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Last Updated: Thursday, 10 May 2007, 09:55 GMT 10:55 UK
Timeline: The Blair Years
12 May, 1994
Labour leader John Smith dies of a heart attack at 55.
The news of the Labour leader's death came as a huge shock to the party and the nation. The affable Scot was widely respected as a man of integrity and was expected to lead Labour to victory at the next general election. His deputy Margaret Beckett took temporary charge of the Labour helm while a leadership election was organised.
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31 May, 1994
Tony Blair and and Gordon Brown meet at Granita restaurant in Islington and reportedly agree a deal.
1 June, 1994
Gordon Brown rules himself out of leadership race.
21 July, 1994
Tony Blair beats John Prescott and Margaret Beckett to become leader of the Labour Party with 57 of the vote.
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4 October, 1994
Blair makes his first party conference speech as leader calling on the party to revise its constitution and drop Clause IV.
1 December, 1994
It is confirmed that the Blairs intend to send their son Euan to the London Oratory a grantmaintained Catholic school.
London Oratory boys' school is one of the top secondary schools in the capital. It does not charge fees but nor is it an ordinary comprehensive thus the Blairs' announcement was viewed as a move away from traditional Labour roots.
25 April, 1995
Blair taunts Prime Minister John Major at PMQs saying I lead my party he follows his.
29 April, 1995
The Labour Party backs rewriting of Clause IV Labours historic commitment to nationalisation.
The rewriting of this key tenet of the Labour constitution was part of Blair's modernisation programme. He was determined to make New Labour as the party was now being called more receptive to the free market and the middle classes.
11 April, 1996
Labour wins the Staffordshire South East byelection reducing the governments Commons majority to three.
October, 1996
Draft manifesto entitled New Labour is endorsed by Conference and then by the whole party membership.
The manifesto began "'Our case is simple that Britain can and must be better". Labour also issued a card bearing five pledges cut class sizes for five six and sevenyearolds fasttrack punishment for young offenders cut waiting lists by 100000 250000 young people off benefits and into work no income tax increase.
18 March, 1997
The Sun newspaper announces it will back Blair at the general election.
1 May, 1997
Labour wins the general election by a landslide ending 18 years of Conservative rule under Thatcher and Major.
The Conservatives took just 165 seats their worst performance since 1906. Scotland and Wales were left devoid of Tory representation and Labour had a formidable 419 seats including the speaker the largest the party had ever taken. Tony Blair promised he would deliver "unity and purpose for the future". John Major resigned as Conservative leader saying "When the curtain falls it's time to get off the stage and that is what I propose to do."
2 May, 1997
Tony Blair becomes the youngest prime minister since 1812. He has a huge Commons majority of 179.
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6 May, 1997
Chancellor Gordon Brown gives the Bank of England the freedom to set interest rates.
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18 June, 1997
Britain signs up to the European Unions Social Chapter.
19 June, 1997
William Hague is elected to succeed John Major as Conservative leader.
31 August, 1997
Tony Blair reflects the mood of much of the nation on the death of Diana Princess of Wales dubbing her the peoples princess.
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12 September, 1997
Scotland backs devolution by referendum a move followed a week later by Wales.
27 October, 1997
Gordon Brown rules out entry before 1999 to Economic and Monetary Union saying five key economic tests have not been met.
November, 1997
The Labour Party promises to return a 1m donation from Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone.
Bernie Ecclestone had made his donation in January 1997 although it was not made public at that time. Just days after the election Health Secretary Frank Dobson announced a future ban on sports sponsorship by tobacco companies. But later in the year the government proposed to exempt Formula One from the ban. Journalists began to look into whether Mr Ecclestone had made donations to Labour.
11 December, 1997
Blairs first major rebellion plans to cut benefits to single parents sparks a revolt by 47 backbenchers.
10 April, 1998
Good Friday Agreement detailing powersharing devolved government is hammered out after months of negotiation.
The agreement was signed by all key Northern Ireland parties except for the DUP. It was then posted to every household in Northern Ireland and approved by referendum on 22 May 1998. The Northern Ireland Assembly was set up but faltered over the issue of paramilitary decommissioning and policing and it was suspended three times. In October 2002 it was also suspended after allegations of IRA intelligence gathering. The Assembly was finally restored in May 2007.
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20 June, 1998
Conservative MP Peter TempleMorris defects to Labour.
27 July, 1998
The Labour Governments first Cabinet reshuffle.
Four ministers were sacked including Harriet Harman and Leader of the Lords Ivor Richard. Minister for Social Security Reform Frank Field resigned from government. Peter Mandelson entered the Cabinet as Trade and Industry Secretary.
17 October, 1998
Former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet is arrested while in London to undergo surgery.
General Pinochet was arrested at the request of Spanish judges seeking to extradite him to face charges related to more than 4000 political killings alleged to have taken place during his 19731990 rule in Chile. After long legal wranglings then Home Secretary Jack Straw ordered he was too ill to be extradited and allowed him to return Chile.
27 October, 1998
Ron Davies quits as Welsh Secretary after a moment of madness on Clapham Common.
Mr Davies became the first member of Tony Blair's Cabinet to resign admitting a "serious lapse of judgement" following an incident near Clapham Common where he met a stranger and was later robbed at knifepoint. He had been the favourite to become the First Secretary of the Welsh Assembly after winning a ballot earlier in the year to head the Labour group in the assembly.
16 December, 1998
Blair and US President Bill Clinton launch air strikes on Iraq after UN reports Saddam is not complying with weapons inspections.
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23 December, 1998
Peter Mandelson resigns over an undisclosed home loan from fellow minister Geoffrey Robinson.
Peter Mandelson resigned as Trade and Industry Secretary after it emerged that he had borrowed 373000 from Paymaster General Geoffrey Robinson to buy a house when the pair were in opposition. Mr Robinson also resigned the same day. The loan itself was not the key issue it was that Mr Mandelson had not declared it.
24 March, 1999
Nato air strikes against Serb forces in Kosovo begin.
Tony Blair said Britain fully supported the use of millitary action by Nato the first time the alliance had ever attacked a sovereign European country. He said the action was necessary "to prevent Slobodan Milosevic from continuing to perpetrate his vile oppression against the Kosovo Albanian people". The bombing ended 11 weeks later on 10 June the day after Belgrade agreed to a full military withdrawal from Kosovo.
20 June, 1999
Alun Michael narrowly wins the Welsh leadership election although a row ensues over secret union block votes.
Wales Labour Party narrowly voted for Alun Michael to be its leader in the National Assembly but only thanks to the use of secret union block votes. The grassroots party members had overwhelmingly backed Rhodri Morgan the Cardiff West MP.
9 August, 1999
Charles Kennedy is elected leader of the Liberal Democrats replacing Paddy Ashdown.
11 October, 1999
Peter Mandelson is back in the Cabinet this time as Northern Ireland secretary.
9 November, 1999
Chancellor Gordon Brown announces 75p a week increase in state pension furore ensues.
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19 November, 1999
The Blairs confirm they are expecting their fourth child.
31 December, 1999
Grand opening of the Millennium Dome is plagued by glitches which leave hundreds of guests queuing in the cold.
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9 February, 2000
Alun Michael is ousted as Welsh First Minister in a vote of no confidence. He is replaced by Rhodri Morgan.
6 March, 2000
Ken Livingstone announces his intention to stand as an independent candidate for London Mayor.
One month later the MP for Brent East received a letter telling him he had been expelled from the Labour Party for at least five years for failing to back the official Labour candidate Frank Dobson. Mr Livingstone shrugged off the move as a "trial separation" and went on to win the mayoral election in May 2000.
4 May, 2000
Ken Livingstone wins inaugural London Mayor election.
This was a stinging defeat for the government. Mr Livingstone won the mayoral election as an independent after Labour had expelled him for not supporting the party's official candidate Frank Dobson who came a humiliating third after Conservative rival Steve Norris. Four years later Mr Livingstone was allowed back into the party and Tony Blair admitted his prediction that he would be a "disaster" for London had been proved wrong.
20 May, 2000
Leo Blair arrives the first child born to a sitting PM for more than 150 years.
Leo is the Blairs' fourth child and was named after Mr Blair's father. Tony and Cherie's other children are Euan Kathryn and Nicky.
7 June, 2000
Blair is heckled and slow handclapped as he delivers a speech to the Womens Institute.
After what Mr Blair had hoped would be a speech to win back the initiative from the Tories he received poor applause and drew criticism from some audience members who said his speech was too political. Some women began to heckle and slow clap the PM before the WI chairman appealed to them to stop.
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29 June, 2000
Blair announces that police will be able to charge onthespot fines for public drunkenness.
5 July, 2000
PMs eldest son Euan reprimanded by police for being drunk and incapable in a postexams celebration.
Euan was found drunk and vomiting in Leicester Square and was taken to a police station. The incident came just a few days after Tony Blair suggested onthespot fines for drunkenness. Mr Blair reacted the next day saying being a father was sometimes more difficult than being prime minister.
4 September, 2000
Mo Mowlam announces she will retire from Parliament at the next general election.
5 September, 2000
Fuel protests over rise in petrol prices begin. Crisis Cabinet meetings in what was seen as greatest test of Blairs premiership.
11 October, 2000
Scotlands First Minister Donald Dewar dies from a brain haemorrhage.
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24 January, 2001
Peter Mandelson resigns over Hinduja passports affair. He is later cleared of wrongdoing.
20 February, 2001
Foot and mouth outbreak begins it leads to the general election being postponed by a month.
7 June, 2001
General election Labour win an historic second term with a majority of 165.
8 June, 2001
Cabinet reshuffle David Blunkett moves to the Home Office and Jack Straw to the Foreign Office.
16 July, 2001
More than 100 backbenchers rebel over a bid to remove two independentlyminded MPs as chairmen of two committees
11 September, 2001
Blair speaks of his shock at the terrorist attacks on the US and pledges Britain will stand shouldertoshoulder with America.
Mr Blair cancelled his planned speech to the TUC conference and instead made a sombre statement. His voice cracking with emotion he said "I'm afraid we can only imagine the terror and the carnage there and the many many innocent people that will have lost their lives." He offered the country's condolences to the US and promised "whatever help" necessary to track down the perpetrators. B Ulsakjdf U B
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13 September, 2001
Iain Duncan Smith beats Ken Clarke to replace William Hague as Conservative leader.
1 January, 2002
Euro becomes the main currency across Europe with the UK one of the few countries to remain outside it.
3 February, 2002
Blair makes speech to party conference lambasting wreckers who stand in the way of public service reforms.
Trades union members were angered by Mr Blair's speech seeing it as aimed at them. TUC general secretary John Monks described as "juvenile" the PM's comments about "wreckers and reformers". Meanwhile commentators speculated it may be Mr Blair's preamble to tax increases.
28 May, 2002
Transport Secretary Stephen Byers resigns after a longrunning row over good day to bury bad news email sent by his adviser.
The scandal revolved around Mr Byers' special adviser or spin doctor Jo Moore who sent an email on 911 suggesting that news from the department was unlikely to receive the usual press scrutiny on that day. Mr Byers was not involved in that email but became embroiled in a wider row about the influence of nonaccountable special advisers.
29 May, 2002
Mini reshuffle Paul Boateng becomes Britains first black cabinet minister.
23 October, 2002
Estelle Morris resigns as education secretary saying she feels she is not up to the job.
10 December, 2002
Cherie Blair apologises for embarrassment caused by buying flats with the help of convicted fraudster Peter Foster.
15 February, 2003
An estimated million people march through London to protest against war with Iraq.
17 March, 2003
Robin Cook quits as leader of the Commons because of his opposition to attacking Iraq.
18 March, 2003
139 Labour MPs vote against governments decision to go to war with Iraq.
20 March, 2003
War on Iraq begins as US forces launch first air strikes on Baghdad.
US President George W Bush delivered a live television address shortly after explosions rocked the capital at 0534 local time 0234 GMT signalling the start of the USled campaign to topple Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. The following day the US and British launched a massive aerial assault on Baghdad in what the US called its "shock and awe" strategy. Mr Bush declared an end to major combat operations on 1 May 2003.
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12 May, 2003
Clare Short quits over Iraq saying Tony Blair had broken promises over the countrys future.
29 May, 2003
On the Today programme Andrew Gilligan reports allegations that the government enhanced its dossier on Iraqs WMD.
9 June, 2003
British Government again states the UK economy is not ready to join the euro.
12 June, 2003
Alan Milburn quits as health secretary to spend more time with his family.
Alan Milburn's decision took Parliament by complete surprise. Mr Milburn said he had decided to leave the government because the demands of the job conflicted with having a young family in the north east. Speculation had been rife that there would be changes in the Cabinet but noone predicted such a key moderniser would leave the government.
9 July, 2003
Ministry of Defence names weapons expert Dr David Kelly as the source for Andrew Gilligans sexed up dossier report.
17 July, 2003
Blair addresses US Congress.
18 July, 2003
Government weapons expert Dr David Kelly is found dead in woods near his home.
Dr Kelly apparently committed suicide days after giving evidence to MPs about the dossier on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction the main plank of the government's case for war. He was suspected of being the source for a BBC story which alleged the dossier was "sexed up". The day after Dr Kelly's death Mr Blair launched an inquiry into the tragedy headed by Lord Hutton.
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2 August, 2003
Blair becomes longest continuously serving Labour PM.
29 August, 2003
Downing Street media chief Alastair Campbell announces his resignation.
Tony Blair's director of communications and strategy said his family had paid a heavy price for the "real and intense" pressures of his job and it was "time to move on and do other things". He said his resignation was not related to the Hutton inquiry into the death of government weapons expert Dr David Kelly saying he had agreed in April with Mr Blair that he would leave his post in 2003.
18 September, 2003
Labour loses the Brent East byelection to the Lib Dems.
29 September, 2003
Gordon Brown delivers tubthumping speech to party conference speculation over BlairBrown pact resurfaces.
Nick Assinder assesses Brown's speech
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19 October, 2003
Blair suffers irregular heartbeat and spends a few hours in hospital.
The prime minister said doctors had told him there was nothing to worry about and he did not have a weak heart. Nevertheless the incident sparked speculation over his health against a background of continuing theories about if and when he would step down as PM.
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14 December, 2003
US forces capture Saddam Hussein hiding in a hole near Tikrit. Blair says the capture removes the shadow hanging over Iraq.
Tony Blair said the capture of Saddam Hussein had given the Iraqi people an opportunity to unite and move forward by showing it was futile to try to return him to power. It would now be down to the Iraqi people to decide Saddam's fate he said. Mr Blair later stressed that he believed Saddam should be tried and jailed rather than executed.
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27 January, 2004
The government narrowly wins a vote on university topup fees an issue on which Tony Blair had staked his authority.
Seventytwo Labour MPs rebelled and the government won by just five votes and was widely seen as a crucial test of his abilities as prime minister. A month later the government managed to ward off another defeat this time by just 28 votes when opponents of the Bill tried to push through an ammendment allowing for variable fees.
28 January, 2004
Lord Huttons report absolves government of almost any blame in Kelly affair and points finger at BBC reporting.
Key allegations about the government's Iraq dossier reported by the BBC's Andrew Gilligan were "unfounded" and the BBC's editorial procedures were "defective" Lord Hutton said. He concluded that there was no underhand government strategy to name Dr Kelly. The report caused massive upheaval at the BBC with the resignations of Chairman Gavyn Davies and Director General Greg Dyke.
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2 February, 2004
Ken Livingstone ratified as Labour candidate for London mayor.
22 February, 2004
In a press interview Blair insists he will stand for a third term and denies rumours he will stand down.
26 February, 2004
Speaking on Today Clare Short alleges UN Secretary General Kofi Annans office was bugged by MI6.
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25 March, 2004
Blair holds talks with Libyan leader Gaddafi. The rapprochement comes after Libya renounced WMD in December.
Blair and Colonel Gaddafi shook hands at the start of the historic talks in Tripoli which the UK prime minister hailed as hopefully a "new relationship". People should not forget the past they should move beyond it Mr Blair said. Relations had been difficult between the two countries because of the killing of WPC Yvonne Fletcher outside the Libyan embassy in London in 1984 and the 1988 Lockerbie bombing.
20 April, 2004
Blair confirms there will be a referendum on the EU constitution a Uturn on his previous position.
For months the prime minister had denied the need for a vote but with clamour over Europe issues growing louder he said that he would "let the people have a final say". Conservative leader Michael Howard asked him "Who will ever trust you again"
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10 June, 2004
At local council elections Labour lose more than 450 seats but Ken Livingstone is reelected as London Mayor.
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14 July, 2004
Butler report finds that some intelligence on Iraqs WMDs had turned out to be unreliable but Blair had acted in good faith.
21 July, 2004
Blair marks his 10 years as Labour leader.
15 September, 2004
Blair makes a speech on the urgent issue of climate change and says action is needed now to combat global warming.
1 October, 2004
Tony Blair announces that if he wins the next election he will quit before a possible third term.
15 December, 2004
Home Secretary David Blunkett resigns over visa row.
David Blunkett stepped down after an email emerged showing a visa application for his exlover's nanny had been fasttracked. The email had said "no favours but slightly quicker". Mr Blunkett said he had done nothing wrong but that questions about his honesty had damaged the government. Education Secretary Charles Clarke took over as home secretary.
6 February, 2005
Blair becomes longest serving Labour PM overtaking the combined length of Harold Wilsons two terms in the 1960s and 1970s.
5 May, 2005
Labour wins historic third term in government but with reduced majority.
29 May, 2005
French voters reject the EU proposed constitution sending shockwaves across Europe. The Dutch reject it three days later.
23 June, 2005
In a speech marking the start of the UKs sixmonth European Union presidency Blair says the EU faces a leadership crisis.
The speech came barely a week after a turbulet summit in which Tony Blair refused to give up the UK's 3bn annual refund from the EU budget unless there were reforms to farm subsidies. He said the EU would fail "on a grand scale" if it did not face up to globalisation and had to change to recover public support.
6 July, 2005
London wins bid to host the 2012 Olympic Games. Blair had helped the campaign with a whistlestop visit to Singapore.
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7 July, 2005
Suicide bombers kill 52 people in London. Blair condemns the attacks as particularly barbaric as they coincide with G8 summit.
8 July, 2005
G8 summit hosted by Blair in Scotland ends with an agreement to boost aid for developing countries by 50bn 28.8bn.
21 July, 2005
Second wave of attempted bomb attack on London transport.
6 August, 2005
Former Cabinet minister Robin Cook dies aged 59 after collapsing while hill walking in northwest Scotland.
19 August, 2005
Former Northern Ireland secretary Mo Mowlam dies aged 55. She fell down at home and never regained consciousness.
9 November, 2005
Blair suffers his first Commons defeat on the Terrorism Act.
MPs voted against plans to increase the number of days a suspected terrorist can be held without charges to 90 days.
6 December, 2005
David Cameron is elected as the new Conservative leader.
6 January, 2006
Charles Kennedy is forced by colleagues to resign as Liberal Democrat leader after publicly admitting to a drink problem.
2 March, 2006
Menzies Campbell elected leader of the Liberal Democrats.
15 March, 2006
Tony Blair wins the first Commons test of controversial school reform plans for England but only because of Tory support.
MPs voted by 458 votes to 115 in favour of plans to give schools more control over admissions and budgets. But 52 Labour backbenchers rebelled and another 25 MPs did not vote. The revolt was seen as a blow to Mr Blair's authority.
16 March, 2006
Labours treasurer Jack Dromey reveals he and other officials did not know the party had secretly borrowed millions of s.
Mr Dromey told BBC News that neither he nor Labour's elected chairman knew about the loans from businessmen despite being regularly consulted about bank loans. He said the Electoral Commission should investigate the issue of loans to political parties from noncommercial sources. Home Secretary Charles Clarke said it was reasonable for an internal inquiry to take place but denied "cash for honours" claims.
25 April, 2006
The Home Office admits 1023 foreign criminals were released without being considered for deportation.
Home Secretary Charles Clarke refused to step down but conceded he did not know where most of the released prisoners were. Among them were three murderers and nine rapists. Opposition leaders accused him of failing to protect the public.
26 April, 2006
Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt is heckled for the second time in three days by health workers.
Patricia Hewitt was jeered and slow handclapped by nurses at a conference in Bournemouth as she tried to address their fears about NHS deficits.
28 April, 2006
Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott admits having an affair with one of his secretaries.
Another blow to Labour in the runup to the local elections. The MP for Hull East said he regretted the relationship with Tracey Temple 43 which had ended "some time ago".
4 May, 2006
A bad night for Tony Blair as Labour loses more than 300 councillors in Englands local elections.
5 May, 2006
Home Secretary Charles Clarke and Foreign Secretary Jack Straw are replaced in Blairs most radical Cabinet reshuffle yet.
The prime minister tries to regain momentum after one of the worst local election results in Labour's history. Mr Clarke is replaced by Defence Secretary John Reid. Margaret Beckett is the new foreign secretary with Jack Straw becoming Commons leader. John Prescott will stay as deputy prime minister but lose his department. Trade Secretary Alan Johnson gets education.
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10 July, 2006
John Prescott comes under pressure to quitafter it emerges a US tycoon gave him a cowboy outfit during a visit to his ranch.
12 July, 2006
Lord Levy is arrested and bailed by police over the cash for honours probe.
Tony Blair's chief fundraiser denied any wrongdoing and accused the police of using their arrest powers "totally unnecessarily". The peer was one of several key figures in securing multimillion loans to the Labour Party in 2005. Police are examining whether honours were ever given as reward for financial help to the three main parties.
6 September, 2006
Tension between Tony Blair and Gordon Brown reaches alltime high after MPs demand a timetable for the PMs departure.
Reports of Mr Blair and Mr Brown having an "acrimonious meeting" over the succession issue are followed by the resignation of a junior minister and seven government aides who had urged Mr Blair to step down.
12 September, 2006
In his last speech to the Trades Union Congress as Prime Minister Blair defends his record amid jeers and heckling.
26 September, 2006
Tony Blair admits its hard to let go during final speech as leader of the Labour Party at the party conference.
14 December, 2006
Police interview Blair about cash forhonours affair.
Mr Blair became the first prime minister to be questioned by police in the course of an investigation. He was interviewed twice in December and January 2007 but not under caution so he was being treated as a witness rather than a suspect. Mr Blair's chief fundraiser Lord Levy and Downing Street political adviser Ruth Turner were arrested on separate occasions in January 2007 and released after questioning. The case file is now with the Crown Prosecution Service.
1 May, 2007
On his 10th anniversary as prime minister Blair says he expects in all probabilityGordon Brown will succeed him.
4 May, 2007
Labour loses ground in local elections but Blair says results were better than everyone expected.
10 May, 2007
Tony Blair announces he will step down as prime minister on 27 June.





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