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Blair, Tony (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland)

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Introduction

Tony Blair, who led a rejuvenated Labour Party to a landslide victory in the 1997 general election, ending 18 years of Conservative rule, was returned to power in 2001 and 2005. Espousing ‘Third Way’ centrist policies, Blair instigated constitutional and public service reforms, pursued peace in Northern Ireland and sought closer integration with Europe. He was criticized on the left for his perceived attachment to Thatcherite economic policies, his centralized control over his party’s and government’s image, and his close alignment of UK foreign policy with that of the USA. After the 11 Sept. 2001 attacks on the USA, Blair was President George W. Bush’s closest international ally in the ‘war on terror’ and fully supported US policy in Iraq, despite widespread opposition both domestically and from EU and UN partners. In Aug. 2003 Blair became the longest continuously-serving Labour prime minister and in May 2005 led the party to an unprecedented third consecutive term. In...

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