2005-05-06

Morning Report: May 6, 2005

Blair wins third term. Britain's Prime Minister Tony Blair won a historic third term, with Labour securing a reduced majority, according to the latest BBC report: 'Tony Blair says he will "focus relentlessly" on the public's priorities after securing a historic third term in government. He pledged to sort out immigration and re-establish respect in classrooms, town centres and on Britain's streets. Mr Blair, who the BBC predicts will see his majority cut from 167 in 2001 to 66, said outside Downing Street: "I have listened and I've learned." The Tories gained 31 seats from 2001, while the Lib Dems won 10 more seats.' The Liberal Democrats, now the UK's third largest party, won over 60 seats. The Respect party's ex-Labour member George Galloway won a district in East London. 'George Galloway, who was expelled from Blair's Labour Party, used his victory speech to launch a withering attack on the prime minister. "All the people you killed, all the lies you told, have come back to haunt you," he said. "The best thing the Labour Party could do is sack you tomorrow morning," he said to cheers from the audience', according to CNN. The Conservative leader, Michael Howard, announced he would step down before the next election, citing age. Friday's Telegraph adds: 'Tony Blair was heading back to No 10 today, his 52nd birthday, for a record third term but with his authority severely dented by the prospect of a substantially reduced majority. On a night of unexpected setbacks for Labour, he suffered a serious backlash over the Iraq war, while the Conservatives showed the first signs of revival since 1992. New Labour was caught in a double squeeze, with signs of a North-South divide. In the north of England and Scotland the Liberal Democrats benefited from war protest votes, while the Conservatives did better in the southern suburbs.' (various)

Bush renews Syria sanctions. Debka reports: 'Bush renews economic sanctions against Syria, accusing Assad regime of supporting terrorism, undermining US efforts to stabilize and rebuild Iraq and pursuing weapons of mass destruction.' For other Syria-related news, read Amarji - A Heretic's Blog and newcomer Syria Exposed by Karfan. (Debka, Amarji, Syria Exposed)