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Last Updated: Monday, 9 May 2005, 11:53 GMT 12:53 UK
Election 2005: Most memorable moments

What were the most memorable moments of the 2005 general election campaign? Here are just a few...

REG KEYS' SPEECH

Independent Reg Keys polled 10% of the vote in Tony Blair's Sedgefield constituency on an anti-war ticket.

Tony Blair and Reg Keys

But it was his moving lament for the son he lost in Iraq that will linger in the memory - not for Mr Keys' words necessarily, although these were powerful enough, but for Tony Blair's expression as he listened to them.

"I hope in my heart that one day the prime minister will be able to say sorry, that one day he will say sorry to the families of the bereaved," said Mr Keys.

Mr Blair's attempt to look impassive and expressionless will, inevitably, be replayed time and again whenever the story of his premiership is told on television.

MICHAEL HOWARD'S RESIGNATION

One of the genuine surprises of the 2005 election.

Michael Howard

When Michael Howard travelled to Putney on Friday morning there was no inkling that the Conservative leader was about to hand in his resignation.

The few sleep-deprived journalists who bothered to make the journey were expecting a speech about a new Conservative dawn, symbolised by the retaking of Putney, in spectacular fashion, from Labour.

But they were in for a bigger scoop than they had bargained for...

GALLOWAY V PAXMAN

George Galloway's battle with Labour's Oona King in Bethnal Green and Bow was probably the most bitter and rancorous of the 2005 election.

George Galloway and Jeremy Paxman

But Mr Galloway's clash with the BBC's Jeremy Paxman, shortly after winning the seat in one of the biggest upsets of the night, will run it a close second.

"Mr Galloway, are you proud of having got rid of one of the very few black women in Parliament?," asked Paxman.

"What a preposterous question. I know it's very late in the night, but wouldn't you be better starting by congratulating me for one of the most sensational election results in modern history?," replied Galloway.

And they were off...

TONY BLAIR ON QUESTION TIME

Tony Blair's ability to face down hostile audiences on live television - and speak for hours without going off message - were tested to the limit during this campaign.

Tony Blair

But only once was he truly caught out.

When a member of a BBC Question Time audience asked him why GPs are not allowing advance appointments because of government targets, Mr Blair could only reply that he was "astonished".

The prime minister did the only sensible thing he could in the circumstances. He pledged to look into the problem.

CHARLES KENNEDY'S BABY WOBBLE

If it had happened to Tony Blair or Michael Howard, it would probably have sunk their campaign.

Charles Kennedy

But Charles Kennedy had the ultimate get-out clause when he appeared to lose the plot at his party's manifesto launch.

Asked about the Lib Dem's local income tax, Mr Kennedy seemed confused about the figures.

His excuse was that his wife had given birth to their first child less than 24 hours previously - and he was honest enough to admit that he was suffering from lack of sleep.

BRIAN SEDGEMORE'S DEFECTION

Brian Sedgemore with Charles Kennedy

When a hard left stalwart like former Hackney South and Shoreditch MP Brian Sedgemore joins the Liberal Democrats you can feel the tectonic plates of British politics moving.

Or perhaps just a backbench maverick hoping to make one final point about the war in Iraq before his retirement from Parliament...

MICHAEL HOWARD CALLS TONY BLAIR A LIAR

Mud is always flung during election campaigns.

Conservative poster

But it is rare for an opposition party to call its opponent a liar on an election poster.

The Conservatives' gamble came in the wake of revelations about the legal advice Tony Blair had received in the days leading up to the Iraq war.

BROWN AND BLAIR BACK TOGETHER

When Labour began its long campaign for re-election at the start of the year, Gordon Brown was rarely seen.

His traditional place at the helm of Labour's election campaign was taken by Alan Milburn and the talk was all of public service reform.

But by the time the polling day was named, the economy was firmly centre stage and Brown and Blair were joined at the hip.

Their rekindled friendship found its fullest expression in Labour's first party election broadcast - a soft focus, almost romantic film by English Patient director Anthony Minghella.

Although some critics felt it was more of a romantic comedy.

IRAQ LEGAL ADVICE IS PUBLISHED

In any normal week, this would have been front page news, but in the middle of an election campaign it was potentially incendiary.

Lord Goldsmith

It showed the attorney general, Lord Goldsmith, told Tony Blair on 7 March 2003 a second UN resolution was the safest legal course.

Ten days later Lord Goldsmith's final advice was published, but included no concerns about the legality of the war.

Michael Howard and Charles Kennedy said the advice raised fresh questions. But Mr Blair said the "smoking gun" had turned out to be "a damp squib".

JOHN PRESCOTT

The deputy prime minister managed to refrain from throwing punches at voters this time.

Protesters

But despite being packed off for a tour of marginals with the regional press he was never far from the headlines.

If he wasn't losing his rag with journalists - he called one local hack an "amateur" - he was reacting with outrage to a protest by environmental campaigners.

Greenpeace put two solar panels on Mr Prescott's roof, putting the wind up his wife, Pauline, and provoking possibly the most memorable quote of the campaign from the deputy prime minister: "Wives are not for terrorising."





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