Tony! Tony! Tony! Labor! Labor! Labor!" shouted hundreds of Englishmen on May 1st 1997 as they lined up to shake hands with Tony Blair. The people were shouting because Tony Blair had just been announced as the newly elected Prime minister of England in the 1997 General Election. At the age of 43, Tony Blair beat John Major to become the youngest Prime Minister since Lord Liverpool in 1812. He was a member of the Labour Party, which took an astonishing 418 out of 659 seats in the House of Commons. Tony Blair achieved victory in the 1997 general election because the United Kingdom needed fresh ideas and also due to his commitment to privatization.
Tony Blair was born May 6, 1953, in Edinburgh, Scotland. Blair received his education from the Durham Choristers School in Durham, England, and at Fettes College in Edinburgh. Blair earned his law degree in 1975 from St. John's College at Oxford University. Tony Blair was first elected to Britain's House of Commons in 1983, where he served in various shadow cabinets of the Labour Party for the next decade. In July of 1994, he assumed leadership of the Labour Party after the death of former party leader John Smith in May. As party leader, Tony Blair repositioned the party. He committed the party to stress the ideas that were important to the overall electorate. He even referred to his party as "The New Labour Party." Blair stressed a tough but liberal crime policy, a readiness for a free market economy, and he was also in full support of England's participation in the European community. Blair had dismantled traditional Labour party policies, and in doing so he had made the Labour Party more "electable.".
By the mid-1990s, Tony Blair was becoming very popular in British politics. According to a Market and Opinion Research International poll reported on June 24, 1994, Blair was preferred over John Major by a margin of two-to-one. In 1995 the success continued, with the Labour Party winning 250 of 258 townships in 1995 municipal elections.