On 1 May 1997 the Labour Party, led by Tony Blair, swept to power with an overall majority of 179 seats. The scale of the victory was unimaginable: 419 seats for Labour, 46 Liberal Democrats, 165 Conservatives, and 29 others. The number of Conservatives elected to Parliament had halved since 1992. Several ex-ministers lost their seats, including Norman Lamont, lan Lang, Malcolm Rifkind, William Waldegrave, Tony Newton - and Michael Portillo, who had been widely expected to be the next Leader of the Conservative Party. Melanie Johnson’s inaugural speech as MP for Welwyn Hatfield hailed a new future ‘where many will benefit and we will have a society where people are included rather than excluded’. Early on 2 May Blair promised in his victory speech ‘a Britain renewed... where we build a nation united, with common purpose, shared values, with no-one shut out or excluded’. The age of inclusion had arrived.
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.