General election victory speech

1997-05-02 - Tony Blair


I have just accepted Her Majesty the Queen’s kind offer to form a new administration and government for the country. John Major’s dignity and courage over the last few days and the manner of his leaving, is the mark of the man. I am pleased to pay tribute to him.

As I stand here before 10 Downing Street I know all too well the huge responsibility that is upon me and the great trust that the British people have placed in me.

I know well what this country has voted for today. It is a mandate for New Labour and I say to the people of this country — we ran for office as New Labour, we will govern as New Labour.

This is not a mandate for dogma or for doctrine, or for a return to the past, but it was a mandate to get those things done in our country that desperately need doing for the future.

And this new Labour government will govern in the interests of all our people — the whole of this nation. That I can promise you. When I became leader of the Labour party some three years ago I set a series of objectives. By and large I believe we have achieved them. Today we have set objectives for new Labour Government – a world class education system. Education is not the privilege of the few but the right of the many.

A new Labour Government that remembers that it was a previous Labour Government that formed and fashioned the welfare state and the National Health Service. It was our proudest creation. It shall be our job and our duty now to modernize it for a modern world, and that we will also do.

We will work in partnership with business to create the dynamic economy, the competitive economy of the future. The one that can meet the challenges of an entirely new century and new age.

And it will be a government that seeks to restore trust in politics in this country. That cleans it up, that decentralizes it, that gives people hope once again that politics is and always should be about the service of the public. And it shall be a government, too, that gives this country strength and confidence in leadership both at home and abroad, particularly in respect of Europe.

It shall be a government rooted in strong values, the values of justice and progress and community, the values that have guided me all my political life. But a government ready with the courage to embrace the new ideas necessary to make those values live again for today’s world — a government of practical measures in pursuit of noble causes. That is our objective for the people of Britain.

Above all, we have secured a mandate to bring this nation together, to unite us — one Britain, one nation in which our ambition for ourselves is matched by our sense of compassion and decency and duty towards other people. Simple values, but the right ones.

For 18 years — for 18 long years — my party has been in opposition. It could only say, it could not do. Today we are charged with the deep responsibility of government. Today, enough of talking — it is time now to do.