Focusing on the task of forming his new government on Friday, Blair made changes in the leadership of defence, health and the House of Commons.

Key figures, such as Treasury chief Gordon Brown - seen as Blair's successor - and Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, kept their posts.

Geoff Hoon, the Defence Secretary, was named leader of the House of Commons, and Patricia Hewitt left her post as Trade Secretary for Health Secretary.

Defence portfolio

John Reid was appointed Defence Secretary, taking over from Hoon, while Peter Hain was named Northern Ireland Secretary.

Former Home Secretary David Blunkett was appointed Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. Blunkett was known as a peacemaker in the party but resigned amid the fallout from his affair with a married woman.

David Miliband was appointed Minister of Communities and Local Government, Des Browne was appointed Chief Secretary to the Treasury and Alan Johnson moved from the work and pensions portfolio to become Secretary of State for Productivity, Energy and Industry – the new name for the Department of Trade and Industry.

Alan Milburn, who was Labour's election campaign coordinator, stepped down from his post. He said he wanted to spend more time with his family.