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Last Updated: Saturday, 7 May, 2005, 17:51 GMT 18:51 UK
Final election results declared
Tony and Leo Blair
Tony Blair pictured with his son Leo outside Downing Street
The last election results have been declared, as Tony Blair continues to finalise his ministerial team.

Labour won Harlow after a recount and Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness was last to be elected in Northern Ireland.

The only outstanding result is in Staffordshire South, where the poll was postponed after one candidate died.

Mr Blair is finalising his government team but has already named his Cabinet. New Work and Pensions Secretary David Blunkett has already begun his job.

He says he is looking forward to "bigger challenges" in the new role.

Appeal to Howard

In Essex, Foreign Office minister Bill Rammell held onto his Harlow seat following three recounts in a close fight with the Tory candidate.

The result brought Labour's total number of seats to 356.

That means the party's majority is cut from 167 in 2001 to 67 now - although it will fall to 66 if the Tories defend Staffordshire South in the postponed poll next month.

Patricia Hewitt: health
John Reid: defence
Geoff Hoon: Commons leader
Peter Hain: Northern Ireland
David Blunkett: work and pensions secretary

The Conservatives face a leadership contest after Michael Howard announced his intention to stand down.

Mr Howard pledged to step aside once the party had re-thought its rules on selecting a successor - despite his party gaining 31 seats in Thursday's general election.

The Tory leader said he would be too old, at 67 or 68, to lead the party at the next election, and would step aside "sooner rather than later".

Cabinet changes

Former Tory Deputy Prime Minister Michael Heseltine has urged Mr Howard to stay on for the referendum on the European constitution so the party had time to judge the contenders.

Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy - whose party won 62 seats - said voters had ushered in a new era of three-party politics which would produce a very different House of Commons.

Mr Blair will complete junior ministerial appointments on Monday but has already reshuffled his Cabinet.


Changes include John Reid leaving the health portfolio for the Ministry of Defence and Patricia Hewitt moving to health from the Department of Trade and Industry.

Peter Hain takes on the job of Northern Ireland secretary, while remaining Wales Office secretary.

One of his first tasks will be to assess the impact of the resignation of Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble, who lost his seat to Ian Paisley's Democratic Unionists Party.

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Chancellor Gordon Brown, Foreign Secretary Jack Straw and Home Secretary Charles Clarke remain in their posts.

Mr Blair said his new team would "focus relentlessly" on people's priorities after voters cut Labour's majority from 167 to a projected 66.

Mr Blunkett is back in the Cabinet just five months after he quit as home secretary after it emerged a visa application for his ex-lover's nanny had been fast-tracked.

David Miliband
David Miliband enters the Cabinet after only four years as an MP

Starting work, he said: "This department has some of the biggest issues that the nation faces in terms of welfare to work in terms of pensions, in terms of incapacity benefit; the 12.3bn we now spend on housing benefit.

"I am looking forward, as I always have in politics, to taking on these bigger challenges."

Mr Blunkett also announced plans to look at the benefit entitlements of those "capable of work and who do not have family responsibilities such as childcare".

The reshuffle also sees Alan Johnson take the new post of secretary for productivity, energy and industry.

Mr Blair has brought three new faces into his Cabinet, with David Miliband, Des Browne and John Hutton joining the top table.

Douglas Alexander will also attend the Cabinet, though will not be a member, as the new Europe minister. The job is being given new importance in the run-up to the expected European referendum.

Mr Hutton moves from health to become chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, where he will work on reform of public services and the civil service. Mr Browne will be the chancellor's deputy.



See who is in and who is out of the new cabinet