The 2001 Election

Labour won the 2001 election for a second consecutive time with 42% of the vote. It was Labour's second consecutive win. Background: Much history was made at the 1997 election. Labour won their first election since 1980 and had a 179 seat overall majority and the Conservatives were tossed aside while the Liberal Democrats managed to double their number of MP's in the house of commons. Under Tony Blair, New Labour portrays itself as more moderate than its former self, more committed to free enterprise and less committed to unions.

Much controversy hit the Conservative party around this time with 12 resignations from office taking place over allegations of personal impropriety, among the most famous Jonathan Aitken and Neil Hamilton. Labour definitely managed to make an improvement on school class sizes and funding and eradicating child poverty, devolution to England, Scotland, Wales, on the minimum wage, gay rights and peace in Northern Ireland. However, there were many things that should not have been done – on asylum seekers, the contents of the Millennium Dome, the Ecclestone deal, jury trial, and prison numbers.

There were things that could have been done yet were not – electoral reform stands out, as does playing a more confident role in Europe and a more robust stance on NMD. But it is simply not serious to pretend that Labour has made no difference, let alone no difference worth defending from the possibility of a Hague government at the 2001 elections. There was a huge amount of historical significance of the 2001 elections.

After winning for a second time Labour are in a strong position and the 2001 win will provide a likely springboard for a third success, although Labour wasn't able to secure the sound majority it wanted from an unusually small electorate (42% of votes only 413 seats). The liberal Democrats won more seats than any other such party since 1929 (52 seats). The Conservatives on the other hand won fewer seats than in any other election since 1906 (166 seats) and the leader; William Hague resigned shortly after the unpromising result.