Focus: Westminster – Labour finds power is heaven on earthBMJ 1997; 314 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.314.7092.1433l (Published 17 May 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;314:1433
- John Warden, parliamentary correspondent
“Small earthquake, not many dead” best sums up the British general election of 1997. Although it swept the Conservatives from power and installed a Labour government with an unassailable majority, the political landscape remains remarkably stable.
The outcome has been accepted with equanimity all round. The electorate is quietly pleased. The civil service is revitalised. And the Conservatives have taken their defeat, the worst for 165 years, with stoicism. As Virginia Bottomley, a former health secretary, put it, they are like survivors from the Titanic.
The Labour party, out of office for 18 years, is still dazed by the scale of its achievement. The new government's majority alone, at 179, is larger than the total …