Defining Moments in Tony Blair's Leadership

Following are some highlights of Prime Minister Tony Blair's time in office:

May 1997: Blair, leader of the Labor Party, becomes prime minister.

April 1998: Blair helps negotiate the Belfast Agreement, which creates a power-sharing government in Northern Ireland. However, the peace process hits problems. Much later, in May 2007, Unionist Party chief Ian Paisley and Irish Republican Army veteran Martin McGuinness are sworn in to lead a power-sharing administration.

June 7, 2001: Blair and the Labor Party win again in elections.

September 2001: Following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the United States, Blair announces Britain will fully support the U.S. in its antiterrorism efforts.

March 20, 2003: Blair tells the country he has ordered British forces to join the U.S.-led war in Iraq to remove Saddam Hussein from power and disarm the country of weapons of mass destruction. Blair's Labor Party is divided over the war, and large protests are held throughout the country.

June 2003: Blair agrees to cooperate with a parliamentary investigation into whether his government manipulated intelligence about Iraq. The inquiry follows a BBC report citing an unnamed member of the British intelligence community who said information was exaggerated to support the government's case for war. A parliamentary committee later clears Blair and his government of manipulating intelligence.

January 2004: A judge's independent inquiry into the apparent suicide of a government scientist who the BBC said was the source for its report also clears Blair and his government of charges they exaggerated intelligence.

May 5, 2005: Blair and the Labor Party win in general elections for a third consecutive time, though the Labor Party loses a significant amount of support among the British.

July 7, 2005: A terrorist attack on London's public transportation systems during rush hour kills 56 people while Blair is hosting the G8 summit in Scotland.

August 2005: In response to the bombings, Blair proposes new antiterrorism measures. A few months later, he faces a serious political defeat when the House of Commons votes against a measure Blair pushed that would have allowed terrorism suspects to be jailed without charge for up to 90 days. Parliament later approved a compromise plan.

September 2006: Blair announces he will step down as prime minister within a year.

February 2007: Blair announces that Britain will withdraw about 1,600 of its 7,000 troops around the southern city of Basra, Iraq, in the coming months.

Compiled by's Erica Ryan.



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