Britain Elections: Blair Lands Third Term

Tony Blair has gained victory to win a historic third term as British Prime Minister. However, with his re-election, the Labour party had to concede with reducing its majority in Parliament – largely to public anxiety with the Iraq War and the tense state of the world due to terrorism.

Blair immediately responded to the expected news by saying, "We will have to respond to that sensibly and wisely and responsibly."

Many rumours have also commenced that the current situation may see Blair step down as Labour leader mid-term to allow someone else such as Gordon Brown to step up. The strong economy in the UK has currently kept many voters in support of the Labour Party and Brown, as the Chancellor of the Exchequer has received great credit for this.

After 621 of the 646 House of Commons seats reported, 353 were taken by Labour, and 196 by the Conservatives. Meaningfully, the only party that opposed the war in Iraq – the Liberal Democrat Party only achieved 60 seats.

Overall, it is projected that Labour who previously had a House of Commons majority of 161 seats, would lose nearly 100 of these and end up with a majority of between 68-70.

The electorate vote rose marginally from 2001, when just 59% of registered voters went to the polls, to 61% this year.

Blair said to supporters, "I think we can be really proud of what we've achieved. We've got a mandate to govern this country again."

The historical win means that for the first time in its history the Labour Party has won three straight elections – Margaret Thatcher achieved the same for the Conservative Party, and was previously the only person to achieve this in modern British politics.

Michael Howard, the Conservative leader, took the defeat gracefully and congratulated Blair, but also said that Blair had to do more for better health service, and to lower the crime rate in Britain.

Moving into his third term, Blair may face close scrutiny from Christian groups and human-rights NGO’s this year. With the G8 Summit soon to be hosted in the UK, and the EU being lead by the UK this year, all eyes will be on Blair and the way in which the government can deliver on addressing issues such as poverty and human- rights abuses across the world.

In the run-up to the election, Blair reached out to Christians and faith groups. On Tuesday, March 22, Prime Minister Tony Blair addressed Christian leaders and other religious leaders in the final lecture of the Faithworks series. Blair praised the churches and other Christian organisations for their impact on society, and spoke of how the Christian voice has had a great impact on "global challenges of poverty and injustice."

Regarding the reported decline of the churches in the UK Blair said, "I know that people talk a great deal about the decline of religion and the churches in our national life. But in terms of social action and commitment, community by community, it is your revival and adaptation which are striking. It is what has brought you here today."

"I would like to see you play a bigger not a lesser role in the future," he added. "I say this because of the visible, tangible difference you are making for the better in our society for so many people. That is the proof of your faith in action in the service of others."

Faith groups continue to pressure Blair and the Labour party to help influence Britis society for the good.

Details have also recently been released by the Make Poverty History campaign in which a huge march is being planned to take place in Edinburgh, Scotland this summer. The initiative may see about 100,000 people joining in a four-day protest before the G8 Summit, which takes place at Gleneagles. Event participants hope to apply pressure to the UK government and the summit leaders to ensure that steps are put in place to rid the world of poverty with immediate action.