United kingdom | Gordon Brown Succeeds Blair
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- Britain Enters European Community and Margaret Thatcher Becomes First Female Prime Minister
- Tony Blair and the Labor Party End Conservative Rule
- Britain Supports Post-Sept. 11 America, Enters the Iraq War
- Terror Strikes at Home
- Gordon Brown Succeeds Blair
- A Historic Changing of the Guard
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- Cameron Wins a Second Term in a Resounding Victory
Gordon Brown Succeeds Blair
In May 2007, Blair announced that he would leave office on June 27. Gordon Brown, the chancellor of the exchequer, succeeded Blair. Brown is a study in contrasts to Blair. Brown, typically dour, lacks Blair's charisma and quick wit. The new prime minister faces the task of shoring up the Labour Party, which has not fared well in recent elections, and of regaining the public's trust. Both have suffered from Britain's support of the U.S.-led war in Iraq.
Just two days into Brown's term, police defused two bombs found in cars parked in the West End section of London. The attackers, who officials say are linked to al-Qaeda, tried and failed to detonate the bombs using cell phones. Police detained several foreign-born suspects, several of whom were doctors. The next day, on June 30, an SUV carrying bombs burst into flames after it slammed into an entrance to Glasgow Airport.
In July 2007, four Islamist men, all originally from the Horn of Africa, were sentenced to life in prison by a British judge for attempting to bomb the London transit system on July 21, 2005.
On June 11, 2008, despite much opposition, a new counterterrorism bill passed by a nine-vote margin in the House of Commons. The bill allows the detention of terrorism suspects for up to 42 days without charges, extending the current 28-day detention limit. The vote was seen as a much-needed victory for beleaguered prime minister Brown. On Oct. 13, 2008, in a setback for Brown, the House of Lords rejected the bill in a 309 to 118 vote.
Gordon Brown and Iraqi prime minister Nuri al-Maliki made a joint announcement in December 2008, stating that all British troops would be withdrawn from Iraq by the end of July 2009.