From the archives, Prime Minister's Questions: 21 May 1997

19 April 2011

The House of Commons has adjourned for the Easter recess. Taken from the archives, watch Tony Blair's first appearance at Prime Ministers' Questions on 21 May 1997.

Prime Minister's Questions

The Prime Minister answers questions for about two hours a month. This regular and frequent questioning of the Prime Minister is relatively recent, having been introduced in 1961 when Harold Macmillan was Prime Minister.

Between 1961 and 1997, Prime Minister's Question Time (‘PMQ’s) took place twice a week, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 3.15pm to 3.30pm. From 1997 to the start of 2003 it was on Wednesdays at 3.00pm until 3.30pm. Presently the Prime Minister answers questions between midday and 12.30pm each sitting Wednesday.

Tony Blair

Her Majesty the Queen ask the Leader of the Labour Party, Tony Blair, to form a government on 2 May 1997.

The new Prime Minister first answered questions in the House of Commons on Wednesday 21 May 1997. For the next 10 years, Tony Blair answered questions on a Wednesday afternoon when the House of Commons was sitting.

His last appearance at Prime Minister's Questions was on Wednesday 27 June 2007. Tony Blair had faced John Major, William Hague, Ian Duncan Smith, Micheal Howard and David Cameron as Leaders of the Her Majesty's Official Opposition.

On Wednesday 27 June 2007, Tony Blair tendered his resignation to Her Majesty the Queen.

Parliamentary career

Rt Hon Tony Blair (1953-)
Full name: Anthony Charles Lynton Blair
Born: 6 May 1953

First elected: June 1983 Total service: 24.0 years in 1 period.
Member for: Sedgefield (June 1983-June 2007)
Also contested: Beaconsfield (May 1982)(by-election)

Maiden Speech: 6 July 1983 (45 c313-6)


Privy Counsellor (1994)

Ministerial posts:

Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury and
Minister for the Civil Service, HM Treasury (1997-2007)

Opposition Posts:

Shadow Secretary of State, Energy (1988-
1989); Shadow Secretary of State, Employment (1989-1992);
Shadow Home Secretary (1992-1994); Leader of Her Majesty's
Official Opposition (1994-1997)
Other posts: Leader of the Labour Party (1994-2007)

House of Commons Library analysis

The House of Commons Library has produced a briefing note on the history of Prime Minister's Questions.

Image: Parliamentary copyright

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