The Labour Party


The Labour Party - or 'New Labour', as it is now known - is, at present, the opposition party having been voted out in the 2010 election.

The 'New Labour' moniker came about in 1994, the year that Blair was elected party leader following the untimely death of former leader John Smith, at a time when the party was going through a period of re-invention after years in the political wilderness.

At the head of this tide of change were several figures that would all go on to play significant roles in British government: Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, Peter Mandelson and Alastair Campbell were all advocates of what they termed 'The Third Way'.

One of the key features of New Labour policy was a gradual distancing of the party from the Trade Unions that had traditionally formed the basis of its support, in the process moving its politics from the left to a more centre-left position and wooing middle class voters disillusioned with the failing Tory government of John Major.

The change of direction was a resounding success, bringing a landslide victory in the 1997 election for the party, but the New Labour project soon proved controversial in that some said it manipulated its media image - both Mandelson and Campbell were highly influential Downing Street spin-doctors during Blair's premiership.

New Labour has been tarnished in the recent "cash for honours" scandal, with several government figures being subject to police questioning over whether honours were promised in exchange for secret loans to the party.