Tony Blair

The Right Honourable
Tony Blair
Tony Blair 2.jpg
Blair in 2011
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
In office
2 May 1997 – 27 June 2007
MonarchElizabeth II
DeputyJohn Prescott
Preceded byJohn Major
Succeeded byGordon Brown
Leader of the Opposition
In office
21 July 1994 – 2 May 1997
MonarchElizabeth II
Prime MinisterJohn Major
Preceded byMargaret Beckett
Succeeded byJohn Major
Leader of the Labour Party
In office
21 July 1994 – 24 June 2007
DeputyJohn Prescott
General Sec.
Preceded byJohn Smith
Succeeded byGordon Brown
Shadow Cabinet positions
Shadow Home Secretary
In office
24 July 1992 – 24 October 1994
Preceded byRoy Hattersley
Succeeded byJack Straw
Shadow Secretary of State for Employment
In office
2 November 1989 – 24 July 1992
LeaderNeil Kinnock
Preceded byMichael Meacher
Succeeded byFrank Dobson
Shadow Secretary of State for Energy
In office
23 November 1988 – 2 November 1989
LeaderNeil Kinnock
Preceded byJohn Prescott
Succeeded byFrank Dobson
Shadow Minister for Trade
In office
13 July 1987 – 23 November 1988
LeaderNeil Kinnock
ShadowingAlan Clark
Preceded byBryan Gould
Succeeded byRobin Cook
Member of Parliament
for Sedgefield
In office
9 June 1983 – 27 June 2007
Preceded byConstituency created[nb]
Succeeded byPhil Wilson
Personal details
BornAnthony Charles Lynton Blair
(1953-05-06) 6 May 1953 (age 65)
Edinburgh, Scotland
Political partyLabour
Cherie Booth (m. 1980)
Alma mater
n.b. ^ Electorate abolished on 28 February 1974 and reconstituted on 8 June 1983 (see also Boundary commissions)

Anthony Charles Lynton Blair (born 6 May 1953) is a British politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1997 to 2007 and Leader of the Labour Party from 1994 to 2007. He previously served as Leader of the Opposition before becoming Prime Minister and remains the last British Labour Party leader to have won a general election.

From 1983 to 2007, Blair was the Member of Parliament (MP) for Sedgefield. He was elected Labour Party leader in July 1994, following the sudden death of his predecessor, John Smith. Under Blair's leadership, the party used the phrase "New Labour", to distance it from previous Labour policies and the traditional conception of socialism. Blair declared support for a new conception that he referred to as "social-ism", involving politics that recognised individuals as socially interdependent, and advocated social justice, cohesion, the equal worth of each citizen, and equal opportunity, also referred to as the Third Way.[1] Critics of Blair denounced him for bringing the Labour Party towards the perceived centre ground of British politics, abandoning 'genuine' socialism and being too amenable to capitalism.[2][3] Supporters, including the party's public opinion pollster Philip Gould, stated that (after four consecutive general election defeats) the Labour Party had to demonstrate that it had made a decisive break from its left-wing past, in order to win an election again.[4]

In May 1997, the Labour Party won a landslide general election victory, the largest in its history. Blair, at 43 years of age, became the youngest Prime Minister since 1812. In September 1997, Blair attained early personal popularity, receiving a 93% public approval rating, after his public response to the death of Diana, Princess of Wales.[5][6][7] The Labour Party went on to win two more general elections under his leadership: in 2001, in which it won another landslide victory, and in 2005, with a greatly reduced majority. During his first term as Prime Minister, his government oversaw a large increase in public spending and introduced the National Minimum Wage Act, Human Rights Act, and Freedom of Information Act. His government also held referendums in which the Scottish and Welsh electorates voted in favour of devolved administration. In Northern Ireland, Blair was involved in negotiating the Good Friday Agreement.

Blair supported the foreign policy of the George W. Bush administration, and ensured that the British Armed Forces participated in the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan and, more controversially, the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Blair has faced criticism for his role in the invasion of Iraq, including calls for having him tried for war crimes and waging a war of aggression;[8] in 2016, the Iraq Inquiry criticised his actions and described the invasion as unjustified and unnecessary.[9][10]

Blair was succeeded as Leader of the Labour Party and as Prime Minister by Gordon Brown in June 2007.[11] On the day that Blair resigned as Prime Minister, he was appointed the official Special Envoy of the Quartet on the Middle East, an office which he held until May 2015.[12][13] He currently runs the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change.[14]

Early years

Anthony Charles Lynton Blair was born at Queen Mary Maternity Home in Edinburgh, Scotland,[15] on 6 May 1953.[16][17] He was the second son of Leo and Hazel (née Corscadden) Blair.[citation needed] Leo Blair was the illegitimate son of two entertainers and was adopted as a baby by Glasgow shipyard worker James Blair and his wife, Mary.[18] Hazel Corscadden was the daughter of George Corscadden, a butcher and Orangeman who moved to Glasgow in 1916. In 1923, he returned to (and later died in) Ballyshannon, County Donegal. In Ballyshannon, Corscadden's wife, Sarah Margaret (née Lipsett), gave birth above the family's grocery shop to Blair's mother, Hazel.[19][20]

Blair has an older brother, Sir William Blair, a High Court judge, and a younger sister, Sarah. Blair's first home was with his family at Paisley Terrace in the Willowbrae area of Edinburgh. During this period, his father worked as a junior tax inspector whilst also studying for a law degree from the University of Edinburgh.[15]

Blair's first relocation was when he was nineteen months old. At the end of 1954, Blair's parents and their two sons moved from Paisley Terrace to Adelaide, South Australia.[21] His father lectured in law at the University of Adelaide.[22] It was when in Australia that Blair's sister Sarah was born. The Blairs lived in the suburb of Dulwich close to the university. The family returned to the United Kingdom in the summer of 1958. They lived for a time with Hazel's mother and stepfather (William McClay) at their home in Stepps on the outskirts of north-east Glasgow. Blair's father accepted a job as a lecturer at Durham University, and thus moved the family to Durham, England. Aged five, this marked the beginning of a long association Blair was to have with Durham.[21]

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