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. 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. 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.
Anthony Charles Lynton Blair was born at Queen Mary Maternity Home in Edinburgh, Scotland, on 6 May 1953. He was the second son of Leo and Hazel (née Corscadden) Blair.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. 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.
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.
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. His father lectured in law at the University of Adelaide. 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.