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PRIME MINISTER BLAIR | Highlights of tenure



Published: Fri, September 8, 2006 @ 12:00 a.m.



Here are some key moments in Tony Blair's years as prime minister:

May 1, 1997: Blair's Labour Party wins 419 of 659 seats in the House of Commons, ending 18 years of Conservative rule.

February 1998: Blair makes his first official visit to Washington since his party won power, meeting with President Clinton. The two hold a joint press conference, Clinton's first since allegations surfaced that he tried to cover up an affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

April 10, 1998: Catholic and Protestant leaders in Northern Ireland sign the Good Friday peace agreement, creating framework for a power-sharing assembly.

March 1999: Britain joins the NATO bombing of Kosovo, later sending thousands of peacekeeping troops to the region.

May 20, 2000: Cherie Blair gives birth to the couple's fourth child, Leo. Tony Blair becomes the first serving British prime minister to father a child since 1848.

June 7, 2001: Labour wins second landslide victory with 412 of 659 seats but with a record low turnout of 59 percent.

November 2001: U.S. and British troops attack Afghanistan to overthrow the Taliban regime for sheltering Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida after the Sept. 11 attacks.

April 2002: Blair visits President Bush at his Texas ranch. The men discuss possible action against Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

March 18, 2003: After months of debate, the House of Commons votes to send British troops to Iraq as part of the U.S.-led invasion. Britain sends 45,000 troops.

Oct. 19, 2003: Blair is treated at a hospital for an irregular heartbeat.

May 5, 2005: Blair claims a third successive election win with 324 of 646 newly redrawn seats, a record for his Labour Party. But his majority is cut from 167 to 66.

June 7, 2005: Four bombs explode on subway cars and a bus in London, killing 52 commuters and four British Muslim bombers. A shaken Blair breaks away from hosting a G-8 summit.

Nov. 9, 2005: Lawmakers hand Blair his first defeat in a House of Commons vote, refusing to back anti-terror laws that would allow police to hold terror suspects for 90 days without charge.

March 15, 2006: Blair's authority is undermined as he relies on opposition Conservative votes to push through education reforms -- a key part of his legislative agenda.

May 4: Labour suffers a crushing defeat in municipal elections in England, losing 317 seats and 18 town halls. Blair's demotes Foreign Secretary Jack Straw.

Sept. 6: A junior defense minister quits his post and seven lawmakers resign unpaid posts as ministerial aides after signing a letter to Blair calling for his resignation.

Sept. 7: Visiting a London school, Blair announces Labour's 2006 party conference will be his last, saying he will leave office before the next meeting in September 2007. He does not specify a date.

Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.




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