Blair & Brown: The New Labour Revolution – 1 November 2021 – BBC Two

Episode 5 – Series 1 – In 2005, Labour’s General Election campaign was fought against the backdrop of the Iraq War. Tony Blair and New Labour are in a precarious position. Popularity ratings are low and, to top it off, the relationship between Blair and chancellor Gordon Brown has hit rock bottom. In order to win a third term in office, they agree to put their differences aside and form a united front.

The display of unity works, and New Labour wins for a third time. But a new question looms over the government. Tony Blair had agreed with Gordon Brown that he wouldn’t serve a full third term as Prime Minister. As Brown’s allies press the Prime Minister for a departure date, Blair has a change of heart. He feels that more needed to be done before he could step aside, and he isn’t convinced that Brown will fulfil New Labour’s modernising agenda. To Brown’s surprise and frustration, Blair tells the press he will be staying on as leader.

The ‘coup’ that follows is a bubbling over of tensions within the Labour government. Blair had lost the support of many Labour MPs over Iraq, and the apparent U-turn over his departure sparked outrage among the Brownites, who felt it was high time for Blair to go.

After being pushed into announcing a departure date, Tony Blair steps down as prime minister on 27 June 2007. Gordon Brown is finally able to take the reins. But leading the country is very different to leading the Treasury, and a series of crises put the dampeners on any agenda Brown wants to put forward. His popularity dives further when he fails to call an election. Then, just months after taking office, a global financial crash threatens to destroy economies across the world.

We tell the story of how Gordon Brown reacted to the economic crisis, bringing together world leaders and trying to save the global economy. Despite this, the public turn against the Brown government, and in 2010, after 13 years in power, New Labour is finally forced out of office.

About Blair & Brown: The New Labour Revolution

The story of two powerful personalities at the heart of a political phenomenon. Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and their closest allies chart the rise and difficult legacy of New Labour.

This show is broadcast on BBC Two, also known as the British Broadcasting Corporation.

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