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New Dawn? The 1997 general election

New Dawn?

The general election on 1 May 1997 was a unique moment in Britain’s democratic history. The Labour Party won its largest ever majority in the House of Commons and laid the foundations for an unprecedented 13 years in power. No wonder Tony Blair asked supporters: ‘A new dawn has broken, has it not?’

1997 represented a dramatic turnaround for a party out of office since 1979. Some say that to win, Blair transformed Labour out of all recognition. Others counter that the party had no alternative but to become ‘New Labour’ and that under Blair it remained true to its historic mission of making society fairer. This exhibition reflects on some of the issues raised by the election, many of which remain relevant today.