Who is Tony Blair?
Anthony Charles Lynton “Tony” Blair (born 6 May 1953) is a British politician who served as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1997 to 2007 and the Leader of the Labour Party from 1994 to 2007. Together with United States President George W. Bush in 2003, he initiated the Iraq War with the invasion of Iraq, an act which remains highly controversial.
Early political career
From 1983 to 2007, Blair was the Member of Parliament for Sedgefield and was elected Labour Party leader in July 1994, following the sudden death of his predecessor, John Smith. Under Blair’s leadership, the party used the phrase “New Labour”, to distance it from previous Labour policies and the traditional conception of socialism. Blair declared support for a new conception that he referred to as “social-ism”, involving politics that recognised individuals as socially interdependent, and advocated social justice, cohesion, equal worth of each citizen, and equal opportunity. Critics of Blair denounced him for having the Labour Party abandon genuine socialism and accepting capitalism. Supporters, including the party’s public opinion pollster Philip Gould, stated that after four consecutive general election defeats, the Labour Party had to demonstrate that it had made a decisive break from its left-wing past, in order to win an election again.
In May 1997, the Labour Party won a landslide general election victory, the largest in its history, allowing Blair, at 43 years old, to become the youngest Prime Minister since Lord Liverpool in 1812. In September 1997, Blair attained early personal popularity, receiving a 93% public approval rating, after his public response to the death of Diana, Princess of Wales. The Labour Party went on to win two more elections under his leadership: in 2001, in which it won another landslide victory, and in 2005, with a reduced majority. In the first years of the New Labour government, Blair’s government introduced the National Minimum Wage Act, Human Rights Act, and Freedom of Information Act. Blair’s government also carried out the devolution, the establishing of the Scottish Parliament, the National Assembly for Wales, and the Northern Ireland Assembly, thus fulfilling four of the promises in its 1997 manifesto. In Northern Ireland, Blair was involved in the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.
Blair ardently supported the foreign policy of the Bush administration, and ensured that British Armed Forces participated in the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan and, more controversially, the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Blair has faced strong criticism for his role in the invasion of Iraq, including calls for having him tried for war crimes and waging a war of aggression. In 2016 the Iraq Inquiry strongly criticised his actions and described the invasion of Iraq as unjustified and unnecessary.
Blair was succeeded as the leader of the Labour Party on 24 June 2007, and as Prime Minister on 27 June 2007 by Gordon Brown. On the day that Blair resigned as Prime Minister, he was appointed the official Special Envoy of the Quartet on the Middle East, an office which he held until 27 May 2015.
Wikipedia contributors. “Tony Blair.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 28 Oct. 2016. Web. 28 Oct. 2016.