Morning In Britain

  • Share
  • Read Later
LONDON: Britons woke up Friday with Tony Blair and the Labour Party firmly in charge, after dealing the Tories their largest electoral defeat since 1832. Labour, with 43.1 percent of the vote, won 419 seats in Parliament, 179 more seats than all other parties combined. That electoral bloodbath left the Tories with only 165 members and many of its top leaders not only out of power but without even seats in parliament. A defeated John Major announced that he would step down as Conservative Party leader. "When the curtain falls, it's time to get off the stage," he said, before tendering his resignation as Prime Minister to Queen Elizabeth at Buckingham palace. Though Thursday's elections put a decisive end to 18 years of Conservative rule, Labourís direction remains unclear. Blair has spent the last two years as Labour's head promoting what he calls the New Labour Party, reversing the party's long-held opposition to privatization and promising a less confrontational approach to business. He's also pledged not to raise income taxes for the next five years. Although heís been sketchy on the details, he has promised a new minimum wage, health care reform, and referenda on the governance of Scotland and Wales. "Today, enough of talking," Blair said in victory celebrations on Friday. "It is time to do."