Anthony (Tony) Charles Lynton Blair

1953 -

Rt. Hon. Tony Blair MP
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

Rt. Hon. Tony Blair MP

Politician and British Prime Minister. Born in Edinburgh, the son of a Scots-English law-lecturer, Blair was educated in Durham, Fettes College (Edinburgh) and St John's College, Oxford. Initially becoming a barrister, specialising in employment law, he failed to be elected as Labour MP for Beaconsfield (1982) but succeeded in Sedgefield the following year.

He became Labour spokesman on Treasury Affairs (1984), Trade and Industry (1987), Shadow Secretary of State for Energy (1988), Employment (1989) and Shadow Home Secretary (1992). He gained prominence in the latter role by his views on law and order, a traditional policy of the Conservative party.

In 1994, following the sudden death of John Smith (1938-94) as the result of a heart attack, Blair was selected as Labour's youngest-ever Party Leader, ahead of rival Gordon Brown (b.1951). Blair built on Smith's efforts to modernise his party and restore its appeal to mainstream voters, who had deserted Labour as it drifted to the left, resulting in its defeat at the polls in 1979. His reforms included re-labelling the party New Labour. Blair's efforts resulted in a landslide victory in the 1997 general election and his appointment as Prime Minister. One of the most significant actions of the Blair government was the creation of a Parliament in Scotland and an Assembly in Wales. Blair has been criticised for his autocratic style and his use of 'spin-doctors' to promote the image of his government. He was also condemned for his decision to support the American President in the invasion of Iraq. Having become the most successful Labour Leader in history by winning three successive General Elections, he resigned in 2007 and was succeeded as Labour Leader and Prime Minister by Gordon Brown (b.1951). Blair was immediately appointed a Special Envoy to the Middle East.

Blair was the first Prime Minister's in more than 150 years to become a father while in office, when his wife gave birth to their fourth child in 2000.

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