(Anthony Charles Lynton Blair)
British prime minister
Birthplace: Edinburgh, Scotland
Tony Blair was first elected to Britain's House of Commons in 1983, where he served on various shadow cabinets of the Labour party for the next decade. In July of 1994, he assumed leadership of the Labour party. “New Labour, New Britain” was his slogan, encapsulating Blair's ambition to restructure Britain's then-minority party into an appealingly centrist organization capable of winning general elections (which it lost four consecutive times from 1979–1997). Espousing a tough but liberal crime policy, readiness for a free-market economy, anti-inflationary tactics, and full support of Britain's induction into the European Community, Blair drastically improved Labour's electability. He accomplished this by eschewing Labour's pro-union, socialist roots and concern for welfare and nuclear disarmament.
Blair's deft dismantling of Labour's long-time commitments drew opposition from liberal Britain (Tony Blur and Tory Blair being two of their favorite epithets) but elicited promising results from the ballots: the Labour party won 250 of 258 townships in 1995 municipal elections. In 1997's anticipated landslide election, Blair was voted in as Prime Minister, the first Labour member to do so since 1979.
Blair began his career in the public spotlight as the lead singer of the Ugly Rumours, a maudlin rock cover band. This happened during his years studying law at Oxford where he was also a notable actor and athlete. Cherie Booth, Blair's wife, is a distinguished lawyer and the child of actor Tony Booth.