Tony Blair has led Labour to a third straight election victory
but with a greatly reduced majority and the loss of key ministers
in education and health, writes Amy
Despite gaining almost 40 seats, Conservative Party leader
Michael Howard has announced he will be stepping down.
Labour is predicted to have a majority of 66, down from 167 in
2001. High profile casualties include schools minister Stephen
Twigg and public health minister Melanie Johnson, both of whom lost
their seats to the Conservatives.
With most results declared, Labour has won 355 seats, down from
408, with the Conservatives on 197, up from 160 at the end of the
The Liberal Democrats have won 62 seats, up from 54, and have
significantly reduced Labour’s majority in a number of other
Howard said he would not be leaving his position immediately
but would go when changes in the way the party elects its leader
Manifesto pledges Labour will now be expected to act upon
include ensuring the number of failed asylum seekers removed
exceeds the number of new claims that fail by the end of 2005.
Other commitments include personalised budgets in social care,
where people can decide what they need and how it should be
provided, and investment in and improvement of mental health
Teenagers are also promised access to a wider range of
activities. The government had planned to publish a green paper on
youth services before the election but failed to do so, and charity
YMCA England said that this should be its “first
Felicity Collier, chief executive of BAAF Adoption and
Fostering, said that she was “very anxious” to see
guidance on the Adoption and Children Act 2002 published quickly,
as the legislation was due to be implemented last September.
Bills that fell at the end of the parliamentary session that
may be revived include the Charities Bill, to reform the legal
framework for charities, and the Equality Bill, that would
establish a Commission for Equality and Human Rights.