Blair ministry

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Blair ministry
90th, 91st, and 92nd ministries of the United Kingdom (since 1707)
1997–2007
Blair June 2007.jpg
Date formed 2 May 1997
Date dissolved 24 June 2007
People and organisations
Head of government Tony Blair
Deputy head of government John Prescott
Head of state Elizabeth II
Number of ministers 25 (in and attending cabinet)
Member party Labour Party
Opposition party Conservative Party
Opposition leader
History
Election(s)
Predecessor Major ministry
Successor Brown ministry

Tony Blair formed the Blair ministry in May 1997 after being invited by Queen Elizabeth II to form a new government following the resignation of the previous Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, John Major as a result of the Labour Party victory in the 1997 General Election. He would serve as the Prime Minister for three successive parliamentary terms until his resignation on 27 June 2007. His Cabinet was reshuffled for each new parliament along with a few minor changes during each term.

Formation[edit]

After 18 years in opposition, Labour ousted the Tories in the May 1997 election with a 179-seat majority. The Prime Minister Tony Blair, who turned 44 just days after leading Labour to power, was the youngest Prime Minister of the 20th century.

Blair quickly wiped away memories of the troubled Labour governments led by Harold Wilson and James Callaghan as the economic recovery continued and unemployment continued to fall. While other developed countries, notably Japan, were hit by a financial crisis during Blair's first term in office, Britain's economy remained strong.

In September 2000, however, protests against fuel prices intensified across the country and the new Tory leader William Hague exploited the situation by pointing out to voters just how much fuel prices had risen under Labour. This sparked a brief Tory lead in the opinion polls – the first in eight years – but once the protests and consequent fuel shortages ended, Labour led the opinion polls once more. Blair was so confident of re-election that he called a general election for 3 May, but this was postponed until 7 June due to the foot and mouth crisis. This led to a brief crisis in the agricultural and tourism industries, but did little to shake a still-strong economy and the voters responded by re-electing Blair with an only slightly reduced majority.

Tory leader William Hague, whose party barely improved on their disastrous election result of 1997, stepped down after the election and was succeeded by Iain Duncan Smith.

Following the financial crisis in Japan at the end of the 1990s, there was a brief recession in other parts of the developed world including Germany,[1] Italy and France in the early 2000s, but once again Britain avoided recession and continued to enjoy a strong economy and low unemployment.[2]

By the time the next general election was on the horizon, Blair and Labour were looking well positioned for a record third successive term in government. Unemployment remained low and the economy remained strong with more than a decade of unbroken growth, and education and healthcare had changed for the better as a result of expenditure by Labour.

However, the Labour government had attracted controversy by sending British troops to fight in Afghanistan in the aftermath of the 11 September terrorist attacks on the United States in 2001, and even more so when it joined the American-led invasion of Iraq 18 months later – particularly when it emerged that the ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's alleged nuclear weapons were never found and serious questions were raised about the issue of going to war. Although the dictatorship regimes in both of these countries were swiftly ended by British and American troops, the remaining British forces were not withdrawn from Iraq until 2009 and from Afghanistan until 2014.

Soon after the invasion of Iraq, Labour support in the opinion polls fell and the Tories drew level with them in at least one poll during 2003. However, this did little to end speculation about the future of their unpopular leader Iain Duncan Smith and in October 2003 he lost a vote of no confidence and was replaced by Michael Howard, who stood unopposed for the leadership role and took control without a leadership contest.

The election on 5 May 2005 saw Labour win their historic third successive term in power, though their majority now stood at 66 seats – compared to 167 four years earlier – and they failed to gain any new seats. Blair had already declared that the new term in parliament would be his last.

Cabinets[edit]

These are the cabinets under Prime Minister Tony Blair (from May 1997 to June 2007).

May 1997 to June 2001[edit]

Also attending Cabinet:

Changes[edit]

June 2001 to May 2005[edit]

Also attending Cabinet:

Changes[edit]

May 2005 to June 2007[edit]

Also attending Cabinet:

Changes[edit]

List of Ministers[edit]

Members of the Cabinet are in bold face.

Office Name Dates Notes
Prime Minister
First Lord of the Treasury
Minister for the Civil Service
Tony Blair 2 May 1997 – 24 June 2007  
Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott 2 May 1997  
Lord Chancellor Derry Irvine 2 May 1997 – 12 June 2003  
Charles Falconer 12 June 2003 Also Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs until 9
May 2007 and Secretary of State for Justice from 9 May 2007
Lord President of the Council Ann Taylor 2 May 1997 – 27 July 1998  
Margaret Beckett 27 July 1998 – 8 June 2001  
Robin Cook 8 June 2001 – 18 March 2003  
John Reid 18 March 2003 – 13 June 2003  
Gareth Williams 13 June 2003 – 20 September 2003  
Valerie Amos 20 September 2003  
Leader of the House of Commons Ann Taylor 2 May 1997 – 27 July 1998  
Margaret Beckett 27 July 1998 – 8 June 2001  
Robin Cook 8 June 2001 – 18 March 2003  
John Reid 18 March 2003 – 13 June 2003  
Peter Hain 13 June 2003 – 6 May 2005  
Geoff Hoon 6 May 2005 – 5 May 2006  
Jack Straw 5 May 2006  
Leader of the House of Lords Ivor Richard 2 May 1997 – 27 July 1998  
Margaret Jay 27 July 1998 – 8 June 2001  
Gareth Williams 8 June 2001 – 20 September 2003  
Valerie Amos 20 September 2003  
Lord Privy Seal Ivor Richard 2 May 1997 – 27 July 1998  
Margaret Jay 27 July 1998 – 8 June 2001  
Gareth Williams 8 June 2001 – 13 June 2003  
Peter Hain 13 June 2003 – 6 May 2005  
Geoff Hoon 6 May 2005 – 5 May 2006  
Jack Straw 5 May 2006  
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
Minister for the Cabinet Office
David Clark 2 May 1997 – 27 July 1998  
Jack Cunningham 27 July 1998 – 11 October 1999  
Mo Mowlam 11 October 1999 – 11 June 2001  
Gus Macdonald 11 June 2001 – 13 June 2003  
Douglas Alexander 13 June 2003 – 8 September 2004  
Alan Milburn 8 September 2004 – 6 May 2005  
John Hutton 6 May 2005 – 2 November 2005  
Jim Murphy 5 November 2005 – 5 May 2006 Acting
Hilary Armstrong 5 May 2006  
Minister of State for the Cabinet Office Derek Foster 2 May 1997 – 6 May 1997 Minister of State at the Office of Public Service
Peter Kilfoyle 6 May 1997 – 28 July 1999 Minister of State at the Office of Public Service
Ian McCartney 28 July 1999 – 11 June 2001  
Barbara Roche 11 June 2001 – 29 May 2002  
Douglas Alexander 29 May 2002 – 13 June 2003  
Government Chief Whip
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury
Nick Brown 2 May 1997 – 27 July 1998  
Ann Taylor 27 July 1998 – 8 June 2001  
Hilary Armstrong 8 June 2001 – 5 May 2006  
Jacqui Smith 5 May 2006  
Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown 2 May 1997  
Chief Secretary to the Treasury Alistair Darling 2 May 1997 – 27 July 1998  
Stephen Byers 27 July 1998 – 23 December 1998  
Alan Milburn 23 December 1998 – 11 October 1999  
Andrew Smith 11 October 1999 – 29 May 2002  
Paul Boateng 29 May 2002 – 6 May 2005  
Des Browne 6 May 2005 – 5 May 2006  
Stephen Timms 5 May 2006 – 27 June 2007  
Paymaster General Geoffrey Robinson 2 May 1997 – 23 December 1998  
Dawn Primarolo 4 January 1999  
Financial Secretary to the Treasury Dawn Primarolo 2 May 1997 – 4 January 1999  
Barbara Roche 4 January 1999 – 29 July 1999  
Stephen Timms 29 July 1999 – 8 June 2001  
Paul Boateng 8 June 2001 – 28 May 2002  
Ruth Kelly 28 May 2002 – 9 September 2004  
Stephen Timms 9 September 2004 – 6 May 2005  
John Healey 6 May 2005  
Economic Secretary to the Treasury Helen Liddell 2 May 1997 – 27 July 1998  
Patricia Hewitt 27 July 1998 – 17 May 1999  
Melanie Johnson 17 May 1999 – 8 June 2001  
Ruth Kelly 8 June 2001 – 15 May 2002  
John Healey 15 May 2002 – 6 May 2005  
Ivan Lewis 6 May 2005 – 6 May 2006  
Ed Balls 6 May 2006  
Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Robin Cook 2 May 1997 – 8 June 2001  
Jack Straw 8 June 2001 – 6 May 2006  
Margaret Beckett 6 May 2006  
Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Derek Fatchett 2 May 1997 – 9 May 1999  
Tony Lloyd 2 May 1997 – 28 July 1999  
Geoff Hoon 9 May 1999 – 28 July 1999  
John Battle 28 July 1999 – 11 June 2001  
Peter Hain 28 July 1999 – 24 January 2001  
Brian Wilson 24 January 2001 – 11 June 2001  
Ben Bradshaw 11 June 2001 – 29 May 2002  
Denis MacShane 11 June 2001 – 3 April 2002  
Bill Rammell 3 April 2002 – 11 May 2005  
Mike O'Brien 29 May 2002 – 13 June 2003  
Chris Mullin 13 June 2003 – 11 May 2005  
Kim Howells 11 May 2005  
Minister of State for Europe Doug Henderson 2 May 1997 – 28 July 1998  
Joyce Quin 28 July 1998 – 28 July 1999  
Geoff Hoon 28 July 1999 – 11 October 1999  
Keith Vaz 11 October 1999 – 11 June 2001  
Peter Hain 11 June 2001 – 24 October 2002  
Denis MacShane 24 October 2002 – 11 May 2005  
Douglas Alexander 11 May 2005 – 8 May 2006  
Geoff Hoon 8 May 2006  
Secretary of State for the Home Department Jack Straw 2 May 1997 – 8 June 2001  
David Blunkett 8 June 2001 – 15 December 2004  
Charles Clarke 15 December 2004 – 5 May 2006  
John Reid 5 May 2006  
Minister of State for Home Affairs Alun Michael 2 May 1997 – 27 October 1998  
Paul Boateng 27 October 1998 – 8 June 2001 Minister of State for Policing
John Denham 8 June 2001 – 12 June 2003  
Hazel Blears 12 June 2003 – 5 May 2006 Minister of State for Crime Reduction, Policing,
Community Safety and Counter-Terrorism
Tony McNulty 5 May 2006 Minister of State for Security, Counterterrorism, Crime and Policing
Minister of State for Prisons Joyce Quin 2 May 1997 – 28 July 1998  
Gareth Williams 28 July 1998 – 29 July 1999  
Charles Clarke 29 July 1999 – 8 June 2001  
Keith Bradley 8 June 2001 – 29 May 2002  
Hilary Benn 29 May 2002 – 13 May 2003  
Patricia Scotland 13 June 2003 – 6 May 2005 Minister of State for the Criminal Justice System and Law Reform
Under-Secretary of State for Immigration Mike O'Brien 5 May 1997 – 29 July 1999  
Minister of State for Asylum and Immigration Barbara Roche 29 July 1999 – 11 June 2001  
Jeff Rooker 11 June 2001 – 29 May 2002  
Beverley Hughes 29 May 2002 – 1 April 2004 Minister of State for Immigration, Citizenship and Counterterrorism
Des Browne 1 April 2004 – 6 May 2005 Minister of State for Immigration, Citizenship and Counterterrorism
Tony McNulty 6 May 2005 – 5 May 2006 Minister of State for Immigration, Citizenship and Nationality
Liam Byrne 5 May 2006 Minister of State for Borders and Immigration
Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions John Prescott 2 May 1997 – 8 June 2001 Office Abolished 8 June 2001
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Margaret Beckett 8 June 2001 – 5 May 2006 Office Created 8 June 2001
David Miliband 5 May 2006  
Minister for the Environment Michael Meacher 2 May 1997 – 13 June 2003  
Richard Caborn 2 May 1997 – 20 October 1999 Minister for Regions, Regeneration & Planning
Nick Raynsford 20 October 1999 - 8 June 2001  
Alun Michael 8 June 2001 – 6 May 2005 Minister for Rural Affairs
Elliot Morley 13 June 2003 – 5 May 2006  
Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Jack Cunningham 2 May 1997 – 27 July 1998  
Nick Brown 27 July 1998 – 8 June 2001  
Margaret Beckett 8 June 2001 – 27 March 2002 Office merged with Secretary of State for the Environment
on 8 June 2001 and formally abolished on 27 March 2002
Minister of State for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Jeff Rooker 2 May 1997 – 28 July 1999  
Joyce Quin 28 July 1999 – 11 June 2001  
Secretary of State for Defence George Robertson 2 May 1997 – 11 October 1999  
Geoff Hoon 11 October 1999 – 6 May 2005  
John Reid 6 May 2005 – 5 May 2006  
Des Browne 5 May 2006  
Minister of State for the Armed Forces John Reid 2 May 1997 – 27 July 1998  
Doug Henderson 27 July 1998 – 29 July 1999  
John Spellar 29 July 1999 – 11 June 2001  
Adam Ingram 11 June 2001 – 29 June 2007  
Minister of State for Defence Procurement John Gilbert 2 May 1997 – 29 July 1999  
Elizabeth Symons 29 July 1999 – 8 June 2001  
William Bach 8 June 2001 – 6 May 2005  
Paul Drayson 6 May 2005  
Secretary of State for Education and Employment David Blunkett 2 May 1997 – 8 June 2001  
Secretary of State for Education and Skills Estelle Morris 8 June 2001 – 24 October 2002  
Charles Clarke 24 October 2002 – 15 December 2004  
Ruth Kelly 15 December 2004 – 5 May 2006  
Alan Johnson 5 May 2006  
Minister for Schools Stephen Byers 2 May 1997 – 18 July 1998 Minister for School Standards
Estelle Morris 18 July 1998 – 11 June 2001  
Stephen Timms 11 June 2001 – 24 October 2002  
David Miliband 24 October 2002 – 16 December 2004  
Stephen Twigg 16 December 2004 – 6 May 2005  
Jacqui Smith 6 May 2005 – 5 May 2006  
Jim Knight 5 May 2006 Minister of State for Schools and Learners
Minister of State for Employment and Disability Rights Andrew Smith 2 May 1997 – 11 October 1999  
Tessa Jowell 11 October 1999 – 11 June 2001  
Minister for Higher Education Margaret Hodge 11 June 2001 – 13 June 2003 Minister for Universities
Alan Johnson 13 June 2003 – 8 September 2004  
Kim Howells 8 September 2004 – 11 May 2005  
Bill Rammell 11 May 2005  
Minister for Children Margaret Hodge 13 June 2003 – 11 May 2005
Maria Eagle 11 May 2005 – 8 May 2006  
Beverley Hughes 8 May 2006  
Secretary of State for Health Frank Dobson 2 May 1997 – 11 October 1999  
Alan Milburn 11 October 1999 – 13 June 2003  
John Reid 13 June 2003 – 6 May 2005  
Patricia Hewitt 6 May 2005 – 27 June 2007  
Minister of State for Health Alan Milburn 2 May 1997 – 23 December 1998  
John Denham 23 December 1998 - 11 June 2001 Minister of State for Health Services
Jacqui Smith 11 June 2001 - 13 June 2003  
Rosie Winterton 13 June 2003 Minister of State for Health Services;
John Hutton 13 June 2003 – 6 May 2005  
Jane Kennedy 6 May 2005 – 8 May 2006  
Andy Burnham 8 May 2006  
Minister for Public Health Tessa Jowell 2 May 1997 – 11 October 1999  
John Hutton 11 October 1999 – 13 June 2003  
Melanie Johnson 13 June 2003 – 6 May 2005 Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State
Caroline Flint 6 May 2005 Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Until 8 May 2006)
Secretary of State for Social Security Harriet Harman 2 May 1997 – 27 July 1998  
Alistair Darling 27 July 1998 - 8 June 2001 Office Abolished 8 June 2001
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Alistair Darling 8 June 2001 - 29 May 2002 Office Created 8 June 2001
Andrew Smith 29 May 2002 – 8 September 2004  
Alan Johnson 8 September 2004 – 6 May 2005  
David Blunkett 6 May 2005 – 2 November 2005  
John Hutton 2 November 2005  
Minister of State for Pensions Frank Field 2 May 1997 – 27 July 1998 Minister for Welfare Reform
John Denham 27 July 1998 – 23 December 1998  
Stephen Timms 23 December 1998 – 29 July 1999  
Jeff Rooker 29 July 1999 – 11 June 2001  
Ian McCartney 11 June 2001 – 4 April 2003  
Malcolm Wicks 13 June 2003 – 10 May 2005  
Stephen Timms 10 May 2005 – 5 May 2006  
James Purnell 5 May 2006 Minister for Pensions Reform
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport Chris Smith 2 May 1997 - 8 June 2001  
Tessa Jowell 8 June 2001 - 27 June 2007  
Minister for the Arts Mark Fisher 2 May 1997 - 14 June 1998 Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State
Alan Howarth 14 June 1998 - 8 June 2001  
Tessa Blackstone 8 June 2001 - 13 June 2003  
Estelle Morris 13 June 2003 - 10 May 2005  
David Lammy 10 May 2005 - 28 June 2007 Minister of State for Culture
Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions Stephen Byers 8 June 2001 – 29 May 2002 Formed after Department for the Environment, Transport
and the Regions was Dissolved in 2001
Secretary of State for Transport Alistair Darling 29 May 2002 – 5 May 2006 Formed after Department for Transport, Local
Government and the Regions was Dissolved in 2002
Douglas Alexander 5 May 2006  
Minister of State for Transport Gavin Strang 2 May 1997 – 18 June 1998  
John Reid 18 June 1998 – 17 May 1999 Attended Cabinet
Helen Liddell 17 May 1999 – 29 July 1999  
Gus Macdonald 29 July 1999 – 8 June 2001 Attended Cabinet
John Spellar 8 June 2001 – 12 June 2003 Attended Cabinet
Kim Howells 12 June 2003 – 10 September 2004  
Tony McNulty 10 September 2004 – 9 May 2005  
Stephen Ladyman 9 May 2005  

incomplete

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Germany's recession ends". BBC News. 23 May 2002. 
  2. ^ "French economy in trouble". BBC News. 20 August 2003. 
General
  • D. Butler and G. Butler (ed.). Twentieth Century British Political Facts 1900–2000. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Major ministry
Government of the United Kingdom
1997–2007
Succeeded by
Brown ministry