Blair Babe

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Blair Babes or Blair's Babes is a term sometimes used to refer to the 101 female Members of Parliament from the Labour Party elected to the British House of Commons in Labour's landslide general election victory in 1997,[1] after images of the new Prime Minister Tony Blair with 96[2] of them on the steps of Church House in Westminster were widely publicised.[3] According to The Times, Margaret Moran, MP for Luton South, described the "perception that the 1997 intake of female Labour MPs are all robotic clones" as "complete tosh".[4] Moran said that she herself was not a Blair Babe, but a "Blair Witch".[4] The columnist Polly Toynbee condemned the term as a "casual, misogynist tag."[5]

The 1997 general election saw more women elected to the House of Commons than ever – 120, exactly double the 60 elected at the 1992 general election. Aside from the 101 Labour MPs, there were also 13 Conservatives, three Liberal Democrats, and three from other parties (including Speaker Betty Boothroyd, previously a Labour politician). However, many of the new female MPs grew disillusioned, and nine either chose not to stand or lost their seats in the 2001 general election. Despite two female MPs winning by-elections between 1997 and 2001, and other women being elected, the total number of female MPs fell to 118 at the 2001 general election. A further 22 stood down or lost their seats at the 2005 general election, although the number of female MPs increased again to a new record of 127.

The sociological implications of the term and the experiences of Labour's women MPs were extensively analyzed by Sarah Childs in her 2004 book New Labour's Women MPs: Women Representing Women.[6]

List of Blair babes[edit]

# Name Constituency Elected Lost seat/
Stood down
Notes
1. Diane Abbott Hackney North and Stoke Newington 1987
2. Irene Adams Paisley North 1990 2005 Retired, enobled as Baroness Adams of Craigielea in 2005
3. Janet Anderson Rossendale and Darwen 1992 2010 Served as a government whip in 1997 and then under-secretary in the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. Reshuffled after the 2001 election. Lost seat to Conservative Jake Berry.
4. Hilary Armstrong North West Durham 1987 2010 Served as Government Chief Whip of the House of Commons and Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury from 2001 to 2006 then Minister for the Cabinet Office, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for Social Exclusion from 2006 to 2007. Retired in 2010, subsequently enobled as Baroness Armstrong of Hill Top.
5. Candy Atherton Falmouth and Camborne 1997 2005 Lost seat to Liberal Democrat Julia Goldsworthy.
6. Charlotte Atkins Staffordshire Moorlands 1997 2010 Lost seat to Conservative Karen Bradley
7. Margaret Beckett Derby South 1983 Previously MP for Lincoln (1974–1979).
8. Anne Begg Aberdeen South 1997 2015 Lost seat to SNP Callum McCaig
9. Liz Blackman Erewash 1997 2010 Retired
10. Hazel Blears Salford (1997-2010)
Salford and Eccles
1997 2015 Retired
11. Helen Brinton Peterborough 1997 2005 Lost seat to Conservative Stewart Jackson
12. Karen Buck Regent's Park and Kensington North 1997
13. Christine Butler Castle Point 1997 2001 Lost seat to Conservative Bob Spink.
14. Anne Campbell Cambridge 1992 2005 Lost seat to Liberal Democrat David Howarth.
15. Judith Church Dagenham 1994 2001 Retired
16. Lynda Clark Edinburgh Pentlands 1997 2005 Retired
17. Ann Clwyd Cynon Valley 1984
18. Ann Coffey Stockport 1992
19. Yvette Cooper Pontefract and Castleford 1997
20. Jean Corston Bristol East 1992 2005 Retired
21. Ann Cryer Keighley 1997 2010 Retired
22. Claire Curtis-Thomas Crosby 1997 2010 Retired
23. Valerie Davey Bristol West 1997 2005 Lost seat to Liberal Democrat Stephen Williams.
24. Janet Dean Burton 1997 2010 Lost seat to Conservative Andrew Griffiths.
25. Julia Drown South Swindon 1997 2005 Retired
26. Gwyneth Dunwoody Crewe/Crewe and Nantwich 1974 2008 Previously MP for Exeter (1966–1970). Died in office.
27. Angela Eagle Wallasey 1992
28. Maria Eagle Liverpool Garston 1997
29. Louise Ellman Liverpool Riverside 1997
30. Lorna Fitzsimons Rochdale 1997 2005 Lost seat to Liberal Democrat Paul Rowen.
31. Caroline Flint Don Valley 1997
32. Barbara Follett Stevenage 1997 2010 Retired
33. Maria Fyfe Glasgow Maryhill 1987 2001 Retired
34. Linda Gilroy Plymouth Sutton 1997 2010 Lost seat to Conservative Oliver Colvile.
35. Llin Golding Newcastle-under-Lyme 1986 2001 Retired
36. Eileen Gordon Romford 1997 2001 Lost seat to Conservative Andrew Rosindell.
37. Jane Griffiths Reading East 1997 2005 Deselected
38 Harriet Harman Camberwell and Peckham 1982
39. Sylvia Heal Halesowen and Rowley Regis 1997 2010 Previously MP for Mid Staffordshire (1990-1992). Retired
40. Patricia Hewitt Leicester West 1997 2010 Retired
41. Margaret Hodge Barking 1994
42. Kate Hoey Vauxhall 1989
43. Beverley Hughes Stretford and Urmston 1997 2010 Retired
44. Joan Humble Blackpool North and Fleetwood 1997 2010 Retired
45. Glenda Jackson Hampstead and Highgate 1992 2015 Retired
46. Helen Jackson Sheffield Hillsborough 1992 2005 Retired
47. Melanie Johnson Welwyn Hatfield 1997 2005 Lost seat to Conservative Grant Shapps
48. Fiona Jones Newark 1997 2001 Lost seat to Conservative Patrick Mercer. Died in 2007.
49. Helen Jones Warrington North 1997
50. Jenny Jones Wolverhampton South West 1997 2001 Retired
51. Lynne Jones Birmingham Selly Oak 1992 2010 Retired
52. Tessa Jowell Dulwich and West Norwood 1992 2015 Retired
53. Sally Keeble Northampton North 1997 2010 Lost seat to Conservative Michael Ellis
54. Ann Keen Brentford and Isleworth 1997 2010 Lost seat to Conservative Mary Macleod .
55. Ruth Kelly Bolton West 1997 2010 Retired
56. Jane Kennedy Liverpool Broadgreen/Liverpool, Wavertree 1992 2010 Retired
57. Oona King Bethnal Green and Bow 1997 2005 Lost seat to George Galloway (Respect).
58. Tess Kingham Gloucester 1997 2001 Retired
59. Jackie Lawrence Preseli Pembrokeshire 1997 2005 Retired
60. Helen Liddell Monklands East/Airdrie and Shotts 1994 2005 Retired
61. Fiona Mactaggart Slough 1997 2017 Retired
62. Alice Mahon Halifax 1987 2005 Retired
63. Judy Mallaber Amber Valley 1997 2010 Lost seat to Conservative Nigel Mills
64. Christine McCafferty Calder Valley 1997 2010 Retired
65. Siobhain McDonagh Mitcham and Morden 1997
66. Anne McGuire Stirling 1997 2015 Retired
67. Shona McIsaac Cleethorpes 1997 2010 Lost seat to Conservative Martin Vickers.
68. Rosemary McKenna Cumbernauld and Kilsyth/Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East 1997 2010 Retired
69. Gillian Merron Lincoln 1997 2010 Lost seat to Conservative Karl McCartney
70. Laura Moffatt Crawley 1997 2010 Retired
71. Margaret Moran Luton South 1997 2010 Barred from standing
72. Julie Morgan Cardiff North 1997 2010 Lost seat to Conservative Jonathan Evans.
73. Estelle Morris Birmingham Yardley 1992 2005 Retired
74. Kali Mountford Colne Valley 1997 2010 Retired
75. Mo Mowlam Redcar 1987 2001 Retired. Died in 2005.
76. Diana Organ Forest of Dean 1997 2005 Retired
77. Sandra Osborne Ayr/Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock 1997 2015 Lost seat to SNP Corri Wilson
78. Linda Perham Ilford North 1997 2005 Lost seat to Conservative Lee Scott.
79. Bridget Prentice Lewisham East 1992 2010 Retired
80. Dawn Primarolo Bristol South 1987 2015 Retired
81. Joyce Quin Gateshead East/Gateshead East and Washington West 1987 2005 Retired
82. Barbara Roche Hornsey and Wood Green 1992 2005 Lost seat to Liberal Democrat Lynne Featherstone.
83. Joan Ruddock Lewisham Deptford 1987 2015 Retired
84. Christine Russell City of Chester 1997 2010 Lost seat to Conservative Stephen Mosley
85. Joan Ryan Enfield North 1997/2015 2010 Lost seat to Conservative Nick de Bois
86. Debra Shipley Stourbridge 1997 2005 Retired
87. Clare Short Birmingham Ladywood 1983 2010 Resigned from the Labour Party and Retired
88. Angela Smith Basildon 1997 2010 Lost seat to Conservative Stephen Metcalfe
89. Geraldine Smith Morecambe and Lunesdale 1997 2010 Lost seat to Conservative David Morris
90. Jacqui Smith Redditch 1997 2010 Lost seat to Conservative Karen Lumley
91. Helen Southworth Warrington South 1997 2010 Retired
92. Rachel Squire Dunfermline West 1992 2006 Died in office
93. Phyllis Starkey Milton Keynes 1997 2010 Lost seat to Conservative Iain Stewart
94. Gisela Stuart Birmingham Edgbaston 1997 2017 Retired
95. Ann Taylor Dewsbury 1987 2005 Previously MP for Bolton West (1974–83). Retired
96. Dari Taylor Stockton South 1997 2010 Lost seat to Conservative James Wharton.
97. Joan Walley Stoke-on-Trent North 1997 2015 Retired
98. Claire Ward Watford 1997 2010 Lost seat to Conservative Richard Harrington
99. Betty Williams Conwy 1997 2010 Retired
100. Rosie Winterton Doncaster Central 1997
101. Audrey Wise Preston 1987 2000 Previously MP for Coventry South West (1974–9). Died in office.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ A headline in The Sun punningly referred to "Blair's backwenchers": Drink, deception and the death of an MP, The Guardian, 6 February 2007.
  2. ^ The five absent female Labour MPs were Kate Hoey, Clare Short, Glenda Jackson, Lynne Jones and Julie Morgan.
  3. ^ All-women shortlists clear new hurdle, BBC News, 21 December 2001 (including iconic photograph of Blair Babes)
  4. ^ a b Mark Inglefield. "A fair cop", The Times, London, 2 September 2000, pg. 22
  5. ^ Better than men, The Guardian, 16 March 2001.
  6. ^ Sarah Childs (31 July 2004). New Labour's Women MPs: Women Representing Women. Routledge. ISBN 1-135-76616-9. 

References[edit]