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Friday, 8 June, 2001, 13:58 GMT 14:58 UK
The campaign in front pages

Phew, what a month... Here, we trace the course of the campaign in front pages.

9 May
Left on the shelf?
9 May: The Mirror kick-starts the campaign with a spoof of a spoof column, putting William Hague's head atop Bridget Jones of diary fame.

Just as Ms Jones rails against the calories consumed and the alcohol units downed, "Bridget Hague's Diary" details the pints drunk and the votes lost.

Express 9 May
Gazing ahead
"Note to self," the mock diary reads. "Remember inner poise and find proper career. Job prospects v.v.bad."

Meanwhile, the other red tops get out their crystal balls and gaze four weeks into the future.

The Sun decrees that "Hague hasn't got a prayer", while the Express takes a somewhat over-optimistic punt on Labour's possible majority.

14 May
Tax leak - but party leaders dispute figure
14 May: After being unmasked as the source of this Tory tax cut story, Oliver Letwin, the shadow secretary to the Treasury, goes to ground.

15 May
Tit for tat
15 May: Pop goes the election.

Shortly after the singer formerly known as Ginger Spice makes a fleeting appearance in Labour's first election broadcast, Britney Spears sends a message of support to Downing St.

It's only fair. The PM's mouthpiece, Alastair Campbell, has long been a fan of the American pop moppet, so why not vice versa?

15 May
Sneak peek?
The sun has set on the days when Rupert Murdoch's papers backed the Tories.

Conventional wisdom - at the very least at the Sun and in the corridors of Downing St - goes that it's the red-top wot wins it.

So the Labour spin machine plays court to the media baron, and his paper gets a sneak peek at the likely shape of the post-election cabinet.

15 May
William Hague, right, on the campaign trail
And William Hague, once famously described as looking like a foetus, kisses a baby.

17 May
Remarkable foresight
16 May: When it comes to forecasting what lies ahead, this headline turns out to be bang on the money.

Yet surely the subs can't possibly have predicted the day that lay ahead for Labour.

Jack Straw gets booed by coppers, Tony Blair gets an earbashing from a disgruntled voter, and John Prescott gets into a rumble in Rhyl...

17 May
Hitting the campaign trail - literally

17 May
Puns R Us
17 May: A Welsh fuel protester wins over half the electorate by throwing an egg at the deputy PM.

He, in turn, gets the backing of the other half by punching said fuel protester in the chops.

In a campaign marked by carefully stage-managed events, it is this unplanned moment that really gets the voters talking.

18 May
Prezzer in action
18 May: It turns out that Bruiser Prescott has always been handy with his fists, having learned the noble art of boxing while a ship's steward in the 1950s.

In a special tribute edition to the "East Hull Stallion", the Mirror digs out an old snap of Mr Prescott flooring an opponent in his younger days.

18 May
Pick on those your own size
But has the man they now call "Raging Bulk" finally met his match?

The day after Rhyl, Mr Prescott keeps on smiling as a babe in arms lands him with the old one-two.

The deputy PM, to his credit, restrains himself from hitting back. Or is it because he saw his opponent coming this time around?

22 May
Lady Thatcher wades into the fight
22 May: Gone, but not forgotten. Lady Thatcher stages her first appearance on the campaign trail.

28 May
Scared straight?
28 May: On a quiet Bank Holiday Monday, the Mirror at first glance appears to have staged a dramatic turn-around.

But read on. Inside are spoof stories on how the newspaper imagines life would be like should the Tories take power.

Needless to say, the Labour-loving hacks had left their rose-tinted specs at home that day.

1 June
Labour launches a "note to self" campaign
1 June: Are Labour taking a leaf from the Bridget Jones school of forward planning?

Sun, 1 June
Hair Blair bunch
But forget health, education and taxes, what really grabs the headlines in the penultimate week of the campaign is hair.

First Tony Blair gets the wind up him in Brighton...

Then Labour unveils a poster depicting William Hague with Lady Thatcher's hairdo.

1 June
Two can play...
In response, Mr Hague quips that, "It'd be nice to have all that hair, but I wasn't sure about the earrings."

But the Economist gives the Labour camp a taste of its own medicine.

It runs a photo of Mr Blair with the self-same hairdo, making the point that it's not just the Tories that have slid to the right.

5 June
Smile, boys
5 June: And we're into the home stretch.

It's been a long month for those pounding the campaign trail, so little wonder the smiles are starting to slip.

But hey, who looks their best after four weeks on the road?

All that baby kissing, palm pressing and soundbite spouting must surely take its toll.

5 June
Backing Blair
On the day that the Times backs Labour for the first time in its history, the Financial Times - the bible of British business - also voices its support for a second term.

But maybe it's not such a lurch to the left for these organs of the establishment - the Times tells its readers that Labour has consolidated many of the core elements of Thatcherism.

7 June
Time to vote
7 June: Polling day, and the Mirror can't resist another swipe at the Tory leader.

The Sun assumes Labour has won it before a single vote is cast, with the banner headline "Don't let us down, Tony".

But its leader column falls between two stools, telling readers, "if you think Blair has done OK, vote Labour; but if you think Blair has let you down, vote Tory".

As it has in the whole of election week, the Daily Star relegates polling news to Page Two in favour of glamour model Jordan.

8 June
Father's Day comes early
8 June: The day dawns with another landslide to Labour...

Another leader for the Tories, as Mr Hague falls on his sword after the Conservatives fail to make any dent in Labour's huge majority...

And a first for the Lib Dems, who score their best election showing ever.

8 June

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08 Jun 01 |  Features
It's the tabloids wot lost it
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