First Blair ministry


The first Blair ministry lasted from May 1997 to June 2001. After eighteen years in opposition, Labour ousted the Conservatives at the May 1997 election with a 179-seat majority. The Prime Minister, Tony Blair, who turned 44 years old days after leading Labour to victory, was the youngest Prime Minister of the twentieth century. He was surpassed as the youngest Prime Minister by David Cameron who in 2010 became Prime Minister at the age of 43.

First Blair ministry
1997–2001
Blair in 2002
Date formed2 May 1997 (1997-05-02)
Date dissolved7 June 2001 (2001-06-07)
People and organisations
MonarchElizabeth II
Prime MinisterTony Blair
Prime Minister's history1997–2007
Deputy Prime MinisterJohn Prescott
Member partyLabour Party
Status in legislatureMajority
Opposition cabinet
Opposition partyConservative Party
Opposition leader
History
Election(s)1997 general election
Legislature term(s)52nd UK Parliament
Budget(s)
PredecessorSecond Major ministry
SuccessorSecond Blair ministry

Blair quickly wiped away memories of the troubled Labour governments led by Harold Wilson and James Callaghan in the 1960s and 1970's 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, the British economy remained strong.

In September 2000, however, protests against fuel prices intensified across the country and the new Leader of the Conservative Party William Hague exploited the situation by pointing out to voters just how much fuel prices had risen under Labour. This sparked a brief Conservative lead in the opinion polls – the first time in eight years – but once the fuel shortages and consequent protests 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 electorate responded by re-electing Blair with an only slightly-reduced majority.

Cabinet


Portfolio Minister Term
Cabinet ministers
Prime Minister
First Lord of the Treasury
Minister for the Civil Service
Tony Blair MP 1997–2007
Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott MP 1997–2007
Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions 1997–2001
Chancellor of the Exchequer
Second Lord of the Treasury
Gordon Brown MP 1997–2007
Lord Chancellor Derry Irvine, Lord Irvine of Lairg PC QC 1997–2003
Leader of the House of Commons
Lord President of the Council
Ann Taylor MP 1997–1998
Margaret Beckett MP 1998–2001
Leader of the House of Lords
Lord Privy Seal
Ivor Richard, Lord Richard PC QC 1997–1998
Margaret Jay, Baroness Jay of Paddington PC 1998–2001
Chief Secretary to the Treasury Alistair Darling MP 1997–1998
Stephen Byers MP 1998
Alan Milburn MP 1998–1999
Andrew Smith MP 1999–2002
Minister for the Cabinet Office
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
David Clark MP 1997–1998
Jack Cunningham MP DL 1998–1999
Mo Mowlam MP 1999–2001
Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Robin Cook MP 1997–2001
Secretary of State for the Home Department Jack Straw MP 1997–2001
Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Jack Cunningham MP DL 1997–1998
Nick Brown MP 1998–2001
Secretary of State for Health Frank Dobson MP 1997–1999
Alan Milburn MP 1999–2003
Secretary of State for Defence George Robertson MP 1997–1999
Geoff Hoon MP 1999–2005
Secretary of State for Social Security Harriet Harman MP 1997–1998
Alistair Darling MP 1998–2001
Secretary of State for Education and Employment David Blunkett MP 1997–2001
Secretary of State for Trade and Industry
President of the Board of Trade
Margaret Beckett MP 1997–1998
Peter Mandelson MP 1998
Stephen Byers MP 1998–2001
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport Chris Smith MP 1997–2001
Secretary of State for International Development Clare Short MP 1997–2003
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Mo Mowlam MP 1997–1999
Peter Mandelson MP 1999–2001
John Reid MP 2001–2002
Secretary of State for Scotland Donald Dewar MP 1997–1999
John Reid MP 1999–2001
Helen Liddell MP 2001–2003
Secretary of State for Wales Ron Davies 1997–1998
Alun Michael MP JP 1998–1999
Paul Murphy MP 1999–2002
Minister of State for Transport Gavin Strang MP 1997–1998
Minister Without Portfolio Peter Mandelson MP 1997–1998
Also attending cabinet meetings
Chief Whip Nick Brown MP 1997–1998
Ann Taylor MP 1998–2001
Attorney General for England and Wales John Morris QC MP 1997–1999
Gareth Williams, Lord Williams of Mostyn PC QC 1999–2001

Changes

List of ministers


Members of the Cabinet are in bold face.

Prime Minister, the Cabinet Office and non-departmental ministers

Office Name Date
Prime Minister
First Lord of the Treasury
Minister for the Civil Service
Tony Blair May 1997 – June 2001
Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott May 1997 – June 2001
Minister for the Cabinet Office
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
David Clark May 1997 – July 1998
Jack Cunningham July 1998 – October 1999
Mo Mowlam October 1999 – June 2001
Minister of State for the Cabinet Office
Minister of State at the Office of Public Service
Derek Foster May 1997
Peter Kilfoyle May 1997 – July 1999
Ian McCartney July 1999 – June 2001
Lord Chancellor Derry Irvine May 1997 – June 2001
Minister Without Portfolio Peter Mandelson May 1997 – July 1998
Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Prime Minister Ann Coffey May 1997 – July 1998
Bruce Grocott May 1997 – June 2001

Departments of state

Office Name Date
Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown May 1997 – June 2001
Chief Secretary to the Treasury Alistair Darling May 1997 – July 1998
Stephen Byers July 1998 – December 1998
Alan Milburn December 1998 – October 1999
Andrew Smith October 1999 – June 2001
Paymaster General Geoffrey Robinson May 1997 – December 1998
Dawn Primarolo January 1999 – June 2001
Financial Secretary to the Treasury Dawn Primarolo May 1997 – January 1999
Barbara Roche January 1999 – July 1999
Stephen Timms July 1999 – June 2001
Economic Secretary to the Treasury Helen Liddell May 1997 – July 1998
Patricia Hewitt July 1998 – May 1999
Melanie Johnson May 1999 – June 2001
Office Name Date
Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Robin Cook May 1997 – June 2001
Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Tony Lloyd May 1997 – July 1999
John Battle July 1999 – June 2001
Minister of State for Europe Doug Henderson May 1997 – July 1998
Joyce Quin July 1998 – July 1999
Geoff Hoon July 1999 – October 1999
Keith Vaz October 1999 – June 2001
Minister of State for Africa Derek Fatchett May 1997 – May 1999
Geoff Hoon May 1999 – July 1999
Peter Hain July 1999 – January 2001
Brian Wilson January 2001 – June 2001
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Elizabeth Symons May 1997 – June 1999
Patricia Scotland June 1999 – June 2001
Office Name Date
Home Secretary Jack Straw May 1997 – June 2001
Minister of State for Home Affairs Alun Michael May 1997 – October 1998
Paul Boateng October 1998 – June 2001
Minister of State for Prisons Joyce Quin May 1997 – July 1998
Gareth Williams July 1998 – July 1999
Charles Clarke July 1999 – June 2001
Minister of State for Asylum and Immigration Barbara Roche July 1999 – June 2001
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Home Affairs Gareth Williams May 1997 – July 1998
Kate Hoey July 1998 – July 1999
Steve Bassam July 1999 – June 2001
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Immigration Mike O'Brien May 1997 – June 2001
Office Name Date
Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions John Prescott May 1997 – June 2001
Minister of State for the Environment Michael Meacher May 1997 – June 2001
Minister of State for Transport Gavin Strang May 1997 – June 1998
John Reid June 1998 – May 1999
Helen Liddell May 1999 – July 1999
The Lord Macdonald of Tradeston July 1999 – June 2001
Minister of State for Housing and Planning Hilary Armstrong May 1997 – July 1999
Nick Raynsford July 1999 – June 2001
Minister of State for the Regions Richard Caborn May 1997 – July 1999
Nick Raynsford July 1999 – June 2001
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport Glenda Jackson May 1997 – July 1999
Keith Hill July 1999 – June 2001
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Roads Helene Hayman May 1997 – July 1998
Larry Whitty July 1998 – June 2001
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions Nick Raynsford May 1997 – July 1999
Office Name Date
Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Jack Cunningham May 1997 – July 1998
Nick Brown July 1998 – June 2001
Minister of State for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Jeff Rooker May 1997 – July 1999
Joyce Quin July 1999 – June 2001
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Fisheries and the Countryside Elliot Morley May 1997 – June 2001
Office Name Date
Secretary of State for Defence George Robertson May 1997 – October 1999
Geoff Hoon October 1999 – June 2001
Minister of State for the Armed Forces John Reid May 1997 – July 1998
Doug Henderson July 1998 – July 1999
John Spellar July 1999 – June 2001
Minister of State for Defence Procurement John Gilbert May 1997 – July 1999
Elizabeth Symons July 1999 – June 2001
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence John Spellar May 1997 – July 1999
Peter Kilfoyle July 1999 – January 2000
Lewis Moonie January 2000 – June 2001
Office Name Date
Secretary of State for Education and Employment David Blunkett May 1997 – June 2001
Minister of State for School Standards Stephen Byers May 1997 – July 1998
Estelle Morris July 1998 – June 2001
Minister of State for Employment and Disability Rights Andrew Smith May 1997 – October 1999
Tessa Jowell October 1999 – June 2001
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education and Employment Estelle Morris May 1997 – July 1998
George Mudie July 1998 – July 1999
Jacqui Smith July 1999 – June 2001
Office Name Date
Secretary of State for Health Frank Dobson May 1997 – October 1999
Alan Milburn October 1999 – June 2001
Minister of State for Health Services Alan Milburn May 1997 – December 1998
John Denham December 1998 – June 2001
Minister of State for Public Health Tessa Jowell May 1997 – October 1999
John Hutton October 1999 – June 2001
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health Helene Hayman July 1998 – July 1999
Gisela Stuart July 1999 – June 2001
Office Name Date
Secretary of State for Social Security Harriet Harman May 1997 – July 1998
Alistair Darling July 1998 – June 2001
Minister for Welfare Reform Frank Field May 1997 – July 1998
Minister of State for Pensions John Denham July 1998 – December 1998
Stephen Timms December 1998 – July 1999
Jeff Rooker July 1999 – June 2001
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Social Security Joan Ruddock May 1997 – July 1998
Hugh Bayley January 1999 – June 2001
Office Name Date
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport Chris Smith May 1997 – June 2001
Minister for Film, Tourism and Broadcasting Tom Clarke May 1997 – July 1998
Janet Anderson July 1998 – June 2001
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Arts Mark Fisher May 1997 – June 1998
Alan Howarth June 1998 – June 2001
Office Name Date
Secretary of State for Trade and Industry
President of the Board of Trade
Margaret Beckett May 1997 – July 1998
Peter Mandelson July 1998 – December 1998
Stephen Byers December 1998 – June 2001
Minister of State for Trade and Industry John Battle May 1997 – July 1999
Minister of State for Trade Stanley Clinton-Davis May 1997 – July 1998
Brian Wilson July 1998 – July 1999
Richard Caborn July 1999 – June 2001
Minister of State for Competitiveness Ian McCartney May 1997 – July 1999
Minister of State for Energy and Competitiveness in Europe David Simon May 1997 – July 1999
Helen Liddell July 1999 – January 2001
Peter Hain January 2001 – June 2001
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Trade and Industry Nigel Griffiths May 1997 – July 1998
Kim Howells July 1998 – June 2001
Office Name Date
Secretary of State for International Development Clare Short May 1997 – June 2001
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for International Development George Foulkes May 1997 – January 2001
Chris Mullin January 2001 – June 2001
Office Name Date
Secretary of State for Scotland Donald Dewar May 1997 – May 1999
John Reid May 1999 – June 2001
Minister of State for Scotland Henry McLeish May 1997 – June 1999
Brian Wilson May 1997 – July 1998
Helen Liddell July 1998 – May 1999
Brian Wilson July 1999 – June 2001
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Scotland Malcolm Chisholm May 1997 – December 1997
Sam Galbraith May 1997 – May 1999
John Sewel May 1997 – July 1999
Calum MacDonald December 1997 – July 1999
Gus Macdonald August 1998 – July 1999
Office Name Date
Secretary of State for Wales Ron Davies May 1997 – October 1998
Alun Michael October 1998 – July 1999
Paul Murphy July 1999 – June 2001
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales Peter Hain May 1997 – July 1999
Win Griffiths May 1997 – July 1998
Jon Owen Jones July 1998 – July 1999
David Hanson July 1999 – June 2001
Office Name Date
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Mo Mowlam May 1997 – October 1999
Peter Mandelson October 1999 – January 2001
John Reid January 2001 – June 2001
Minister of State for Northern Ireland Adam Ingram May 1997 – June 2001
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Alf Dubs May 1997 – December 1999
Tony Worthington May 1997 – July 1998
John McFall July 1998 – December 1999
George Howarth July 1999 – June 2001

Law officers

Office Name Date
Attorney General for England and Wales John Morris May 1997 – July 1999
Gareth Williams July 1999 – June 2001
Solicitor General for England and Wales Charlie Falconer May 1997 – July 1998
Ross Cranston July 1998 – June 2001
Advocate General for Scotland Lynda Clark May 1999 – June 2001

Parliament

Office Name Date
Leader of the House of Commons
Lord President of the Council
Ann Taylor May 1997 – July 1998
Margaret Beckett July 1998 – June 2001
Deputy Leader of the House of Commons Paddy Tipping December 1999 – June 2001
Leader of the House of Lords
Lord Privy Seal
Ivor Richard May 1997 – July 1998
Margaret Jay July 1998 – June 2001
Deputy Leader of the House of Lords Margaret Jay May 1997 – July 1998
Gareth Williams October 1998 – June 2001
Office Name Date
Government Chief Whip
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury
Nick Brown May 1997 – July 1998
Ann Taylor July 1998 – June 2001
Deputy Chief Whip
Treasurer of the Household
George Mudie May 1997 – July 1998
Keith Bradley July 1998 – June 2001
Comptroller of the Household Tommy McAvoy May 1997 – June 2001
Vice-Chamberlain of the Household Janet Anderson May 1997 – July 1998
Graham Allen July 1998 – June 2001
Government Chief Whip in the House of Lords
Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms
Denis Carter May 1997 – June 2001
Deputy Chief Whip in the House of Lords
Captain of the Yeomen of the Guard
Andrew McIntosh May 1997 – June 2001

References


    General

    • D. Butler and G. Butler (ed.), Twentieth Century British Political Facts 1900–2000[publisher missing][ISBN missing]
    • "Ministerial Departures since 1997 – Parliamentary Information List" (PDF). House of Commons Library. 24 February 2009.