Chronology: Blair's Years in Office

Here's a look at key moments in Tony Blair's eight years as prime minister:

—May 1, 1997: Tony Blair's Labour Party (search) wins 419 of 659 seats in the House of Commons, ending 18 years of Conservative rule.

—Aug. 31, 1997: Blair makes memorable speech after the death of Princess Diana, declaring: "She was the people's princess."

—September 1997: Voters in Scotland and Wales pass referendums establishing a Scottish parliament and a Welsh assembly, fulfilling Blair's promise of devolution.

—April 10, 1998: Catholic and Protestant leaders in Northern Ireland sign the Good Friday peace agreement, creating framework for a power-sharing assembly.

—March 1999: Britain joins the NATO bombing of Kosovo, later sending thousands of peacekeeping troops to the region.

—Oct. 26, 1999: House of Lords (search) votes to abolish the 800-year-old right of hereditary peers to sit in Parliament's upper chamber.

—May 20, 2000: Blair's wife Cherie gives birth to their fourth child, Leo — the first baby born to a serving prime minister since 1848.

—June 7, 2001: Labour wins second landslide victory with 412 of 659 seats, but with a record low turnout of 59 percent.

—October 2001: The month after the Sept. 11 attacks in the United States, U.S. and British troops attack Afghanistan to overthrow the Taliban and weaken the Al Qaeda network.

—April 2002: Blair visits U.S. President George W. Bush at his Texas ranch. The pair discuss possible action against Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

—March 18, 2003: After months of intense debate in Britain, the House of Commons (search) votes to send British troops to Iraq as part of the U.S.-led invasion. Britain sends 45,000 troops.

—July 18, 2003: David Kelly, a government weapons scientist who had expressed doubts to journalists about the intelligence on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, found dead in woods near his home, an apparent suicide. Blair announces independent judicial inquiry led by Lord Hutton.

—Oct. 19, 2003: Blair, 50, receives treatment in hospital for an irregular heartbeat.

—Jan. 28, 2004: Lord Hutton's report on Kelly's death clears the government of dishonorable behavior.

—March 25, 2004: Blair meets Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi in Tripoli, the first British leader to visit the country since Winston Churchill.

—July 14, 2004: An inquiry led by Lord Butler into prewar intelligence about Iraq absolves government of "deliberate distortion" but says intelligence was flawed.

—Nov. 18, 2004: Britain outlaws fox hunting with hounds, after a years-long debate that divided the country.

—Feb. 6, 2005: Blair becomes longest-serving Labour prime minister, surpassing Harold Wilson (search).

—April 5, 2005: Blair calls national election for May 5.