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The Collective
Friday, May 6, 2005
By Dr. Steven Taylor

Via the NYT: Blair Wins Re-election, but His Hold Is Weakened

The margin was Mr. Blair’s lowest since he led his Labor Party to power in 1997 with a landslide victory after 18 years in opposition, promising renewal and an era of social reform. He had already announced that Thursday’s election would be his last, and the result may speed his transfer of power to his heir apparent, Gordon Brown, the chancellor of the Exchequer.

With final results announced from nearly all of Britain’s 646 voting districts by 5 a.m. (midnight Eastern time), Mr. Blair’s majority was projected to have drastically fallen from around 160 in the departing Parliament to around 66. The Conservatives under Michael Howard rose to around 200 seats, while the smaller Liberal Democrats were projected to secure almost 60.

As results poured in, Mr. Howard conceded defeat, saying, “It looks as if Mr. Blair is going to win a third term for Labor.” But, he said of his party, the result “marks a significant step towards our recovery.” The Conservatives have now lost a third straight election, but the results early Friday reversed a trend toward ever more disastrous defeats.

It may well be that the Conservatives have stoped losing voters, but it is doesn’t appear that they gained any, either (although they did increase their seat totals). It, if fact, appears to be the case that the Liberal Democrats may be the party that actually grew in relative strength. I will reserve final judgement until I see the actual numbers.

And the real issue is not the numbers as much as it is how the party will responde to Mr. Blair:

The reduced majority could make it more difficult for Mr. Blair to push through legislative reforms in Parliament if rebels within his own party chose to challenge them.

But if the Tories were willing to replace Thatcher with Major when it appeared to be the politically expedient thing to do, there can be little doubt that Labour will oust Blair if that is seen to be the proper move for the party’s future. They’ve just won five years, barring early elections, and so if it is to their advantage to replace Blair at PM, don’t be surprised.

Still, I do wonder as to whether it will be something that happens right away.

Here’s the ABC News version of the story: Blair May Be Ousted As PM Even if He Wins

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1 Comment

  1. War Criminal Blair Hold Office (at least for a while)
    In a turn of events stranger than the 2004 American election, the Brits have returned Tony Blair’s Labour Party to power, allowing George W. Bush’s lap-dog-in-chief and co-war conspirator to stay in office. Prospects for his completing a full five y…

    Trackback by Running Scared — Friday, May 6, 2005 @ 8:05 am

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