Key dates in Tony Blair's 10 years as the British prime minister

1997

May 2: The Labour party wins the general election and gains a majority in the House of Commons with 179 seats. At 43, Blair becomes the youngest British prime minister since 1812.

May 6: Britain's central bank, the Bank of England, is given power to set interest rates.

August 31: Blair takes the lead after the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, calling her "the people's princess".

1998

April 10:
The Good Friday peace accord is signed, allowing power-sharing between Protestants and Catholics in Northern Ireland, decommissioning of paramilitary weapons and the release of militants from prison.

1999

March 24: Britain joins Nato air strikes against Serbia in Kosovo.

May 26: A devolved Welsh assembly opens in Cardiff.

July 9: The Scottish parliament sits in Edinburgh for the first time since 1707.

2000

The prime minister's wife gave
birth to a son, Leo,  in 2000
May 20: Blair becomes the first British prime minister for more than 150 years to become a father in office when his wife, Cherie Booth, gives birth to their fourth child, Leo.

2001

June 8:
Labour wins a second term with a majority of 167.

September 11: After al-Qaeda attacks on the US, Blair gives his total support to George Bush, the US president.

October 7: British troops take part in US-led, Nato-backed attacks against the Taliban and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan.

2002

October 14: London resumes direct control of Northern Ireland after allegations of a republican spy-ring operating in the Belfast assembly.

2003

February 16: An estimated one million people protest in London against war in Iraq in the biggest march in British history.

March 18: Parliament backs sending British troops to Iraq.

March 19: US-led invasion of Iraq begins.

Blair meets British troops in Basra, Iraq [AFP]


May 26: The BBC says the British government exaggerated intelligence claims about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, the basis for going to war.

July 17: British weapons expert David Kelly, the source for the BBC report, commits suicide.

2004

January 28: Government-commissioned inquiry exonerates Blair administration over blame for Kelly's death and severely criticises the BBC.

October 1: Blair says the 2005 general election will be his last, but he intends to serve a full third term.

2005

May 5: Labour wins a third term with a much-reduced majority of 66.

July 6: London wins the 2012 Olympic Games.

July 7: Fifty-six people are killed and more than 700 injured when four suicide bombers blow themselves up on the London public transport system.

2006

March 21:
Police begin the "cash for honours" inquiry into whether political parties accepted loans from wealthy donors in return for places in the unelected upper House of Lords.

September 7: Blair is forced into saying he will step down within a year after Labour opposition to his stance over Israel's bombing of Lebanon.

Gordon Brown, right, will succeed
Blair as prime minister [AP]
December 14: Blair is questioned by police over "cash for honours", making him the first serving prime minister to be questioned as part of a criminal inquiry.

2007

March 29: Parliament applauds Blair for deal to restore power-sharing in Northern Ireland.

May 1: Blair says ally-turned-foe chancellor Gordon Brown would make a "great prime minister," and confirms he will clarify his departure plans in coming days.

May 10: Blair to announce date he will stand down as Labour party leader and prime minister.

May 19: Blair pays his last visit to iraq as prime minister.

June 20: Al Jazeera reports exclusively that Blair is likely to become the Middle east Quartet's new envoy after he steps down.

June 27: Blair's last day as prime minister as he hands over to Gordon Brown.

Source: Al Jazeera and agencies