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The Labour Party, 1945-Present

5. Tony Blair and New Labour

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About this Lecture


In this module, we think about the Blair governments of 1997-2007 and the rise of New Labour, focusing in particular on: (i) the historical background to the rise of Blair and New Labour, including Labour’s move to the right in the 1980s under Neil Kinnock, the emergence of an international context unfavourable to traditional left-wing economic policy and the decline of the working class in Britain; (ii) New Labour ideology as a “third way” combining a free market capitalist economy with a state-run welfare safety net; (iii) the reasons for Labour’s success in the 1997 and 2001 elections; (iv) New Labour social and economic policies, including the marketisation and privatisation of public services such as health and education, the implementation of in-work benefits, and the deregulation of the financial sector.


In this course, Professor John Callaghan (University of Salford) explores the history of the Labour Party from 1945 to the present day. In the first module, we think about the Labour government under Clement Attlee between 1945-51. In the second, we consider the conflicts which emerged between Labour’s ‘left’ and ‘centre-right’ during its years in opposition between 1951 and 1964. In the third module, we think about Labour’s return to power under Harold Wilson in 1964, before turning in the fourth module to explore the growth of the leftist challenge in the 1970s and Labour’s changing relationship with the trade unions. In the final two modules, we consider the leadership of Tony Blair and New Labour, thinking firstly about the reasons for Blair’s electoral success and his domestic policies, before considering how New Labour’s complex legacy has shaped the Labour Party since 2007.


John Callaghan is Professor of Politics and Contemporary History and the University of Salford, specialising in the history of the British Labour Party, the history of socialism and political theory. His recent publications include Communism in Britain: A Documentary History (2011) and British Labour and Foreign Policy: A History (2007).

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Callaghan, J. (2019, December 20). The Labour Party, 1945-Present - Tony Blair and New Labour [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Callaghan, J. "The Labour Party, 1945-Present – Tony Blair and New Labour." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 20 Dec 2019,