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Saturday, 9 June, 2001, 14:56 GMT 15:56 UK
Sisters are doing it
A key feature of Tony Blair's new Cabinet is the record number of women. The newcomers have been knocking on the door for some time, writes BBC News Online's Megan Lane.
When it comes to gender balance, the House of Commons has long been tipped in favour of men. After the number of women MPs doubled in 1997 to 121 - of whom roughly half had been selected through Labour's all-female shortlists - this has now fallen to 117.
Joining Margaret Beckett, Clare Short and Helen Liddell at the cabinet table are Estelle Morris, Patricia Hewitt, Hilary Armstrong and Tessa Jowell.
Blairites they may well be, but these women are no "Blair Babes" - the label given to 1997's flock of new women MPs.
The promotions are seen as an answer to critics disappointed in Mr Blair's failure to promote deserving women during his first term; and angered by the male-dominated campaigns run by the three main parties.
A telling moment came during the campaign when a journalist asked Estelle Morris about the backseat role of women MPs - at which, Chancellor Gordon Brown butted in.
Here, we profile the women in Mr Blair's reshuffled Cabinet:
The softly-spoken former teacher won the then-marginal seat of Birmingham Yardley in 1992. Both her father, Charles Morris and her uncle, Alf, now Lord Morris, were MPs.
Formerly Neil Kinnock's press secretary, she contested the 1983 general election, but didn't join the House until 1997. A keen horsewoman, she has hit the headlines with her anti-hunting stance.
A personal friend of the Blairs, she has been an MP since 1992. In Who's Who, she lists music and Italy among her recreations.
She has been the MP for Durham North West since 1987, coming from a background in social work and youth affairs. She, too, comes from a political family - her father was Ernest Armstrong, an MP in the 1980s.
She took her first steps up the junior ministerial ladder soon after being elected in 1974, but lost her seat five years later. Having staged a return in 1983, she was deputy party leader when the late John Smith took over from Mr Kinnock. After his death in 1994, she ran for both leader and deputy, but lost out to Tony Blair and John Prescott respectively.
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