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 A/V REPORTS
Prime Minister Tony Blair
retains his Sedgefield seat and thanks "the British people"
 real 56k

Shadow Chancellor Michael Portillo
"We feel we have fought a very strong campaign"
 real 56k

Lib Dem leader Charles Kennedy
"We are very much a party of the future for British politics"
 real 56k

The BBC's Robin Chrystal
"Tony Blair's the first ever Labour Prime Minister to secure two successive full terms"
 real 56k

The BBC's Peter Snow
illustrates the Labour win
 real 56k

Friday, 8 June, 2001, 07:03 GMT 08:03 UK
Labour romps home again
Cherie and Tony Blair
The Blairs have arrived back in Downing Street
Tony Blair has been returned to power for a second term, hailing his landslide as a "historic moment."

William Hague immediately announced he would resign as Conservative party leader to make way for someone with greater personal appeal.

He said it was "vital that the party is given a chance to to choose a leader to build on my work."

BBC forecast
Labour: 414 MPs
Cons: 167 MPs
Lib Dems: 52 MPs
Others: 26 MPs
Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy hailed his party's "remarkable achievement" building on their record success in 1997.

But as expected, voter turnout dropped sharply to the lowest level since 1918, with fewer than six out of 10 electors bothering to cast their ballots.

Mr Blair arrived at Labour headquarters in London at 0543 BST where he was greeted by flagwaving supporters, including singer Mick Hucknell and former Eastenders star Ross Kemp, ministers and party workers.
Conservative leader William Hague
Mr Hague: Within hours of defeat said he would resign

"Our mandate is to carry on the work we have started," he told the cheering crowd.

"It is indeed a night of history for our party."

Mr Hague's admission of defeat came at 0300 BST with a telephone call of congratulations to Mr Blair.

Mr Blair will go to Buckingham Palace later on Friday after which he is expected to announce a cabinet reshuffle.

Mixed fortunes

So far, Labour has a net loss of six seats, the Tories have failed to improve their position and the Lib Dems have gained seven.

The far-right British National Party stunned political observers when it took more than 11,000 votes across the two Oldham constituencies, the scene of recent race riots.

At a glance
Shaun Woodward wins St Helens South for Labour

Peter Mandelson retains Hartlepool

Keith Vaz is re-elected in Leicester East

BNP wins record 11,000 votes in the two Oldham seats

Martin Bell loses out in Ongar and Brentford

Former Lib Dem leadership candidate Jackie Ballard loses to Tories

Tories win first Scottish seat for nine years but Sir Malcolm Rifkind fails to be returned in Edinburgh

Independent candidate Dr Richard Taylor wins in Wyre Forest, defending local hospitals

Spectator editor Boris Johnson wins Henley for Tories

Glamour model Jordan loses in Manchester but wins 713 votes

The latest BBC forecast of the final result is for Labour to have 414 MPs, the Conservatives to have 167, the Liberal Democrats 52, with 26 for other parties.

That would give Tony Blair a Commons a majority of 167, down 12 from the 1997 landslide.

Then, Labour had 418 MPs, the Tories 165 and the Lib Dems 46.

Hague's resignation

William Hague revealed his intention to resign as leader after travelling back from Yorkshire to Conservative Central Office in London.

Earlier, he said the low voter turnout was a "sobering lesson" for all the parties.

"The Tories must review, redouble and intensify their efforts to provide an alternative government," he said.

However, the Tory campaign has come under fire from former ministers.

Lord Brittan said the decision to focus on Europe and asylum seekers had been a "huge strategic misjudgement".

Liberal Democrat supporter cheers
Cheer for Lib Dems
This, he said, had made the Tories look "shrill and extremist".

Pro-European Tory backbencher Ian Taylor said his party had campaigned on the "wrong strategy".

Former minister Rod Richards had called on Mr Hague to resign after describing the party's campaign a "catastrophe".

Party chairman Michael Ancram congratulated Labour and praised William Hague's leadership of the campaign.

Shadow chancellor Michael Portillo described the result as disappointing but called for a period of reflection.

He paid tribute to William Hague and appealed to Tory party members not to "say anything hasty" which they might regret later.

Lib Dem success

Charles Kennedy said the Liberal Democrats had "built on the amazing breakthroughs of four years ago".

He added: "We have taken ourselves further forward across Britain as a whole and we are very much the party of the future for British politics. I think those politics will be better as a result."

Mr Kennedy, who congratulated Tony Blair on winning the election, said his party would seek to provide a "relevant and responsible" opposition into the next parliament.

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