What became of Blair's Babes?

Ben Russell charts the chequered careers of the class of 1997
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Indy Politics

Diane Abbott, 50 (Hackney North and Stoke Newington, 1987-) Longstanding Labour left-winger who has been a thorn in the Government's side since she opposed Bank of England independence in May 1997.

Irene Adams, 57 (Paisley North, 1990-) Backbencher who succeeded her late husband as an MP in a by-election. Now chairman of the Commons Scottish Affairs Committee.

Janet Anderson, 54 (Rossendale and Darwin, 1992-) Former assistant to Barbara Castle and Jack Straw, who rose from parliamentary aide to Margaret Beckett to the whips' office before becoming tourism minister in 1998. Left the Government in 2001.

Hilary Armstrong, 58 (North West Durham, 1987-) MP who succeeded her father Ernest, who has been on Labour's front bench since 1988. Former aide to the late John Smith, she rose to become chief whip in 2001.

Candy Atherton, 48 (Falmouth and Camborne, 1997-) Journalist turned loyalist backbencher after she became the first person to be selected as a candidate from an all-women short list.

Charlotte Atkins, 53 (Staffordshire Moorlands, 1997-) Loyalist backbencher with an interest in education. Promoted to the front bench as a government whip at the last reshuffle.

Margaret Beckett, 61 (Derby South, 1983-; previously Lincoln, 1974-79) Veteran minister from Callaghan years and former Labour deputy leader. She has become one of Tony Blair's cabinet stalwarts, serving at the DTI, as Leader of the Commons and Environment Secretary.

Anne Begg, 48 (Aberdeen South, 1997-) Wheelchair-bound backbencher, and a former disabled Scot of the Year. Now member of the Commons Work and Pensions Committee.

Liz Blackman, 54 (Erewash, 1997-) Picked from an all-women short list without previous general election experience. Now a loyal Blairite and aide to Geoff Hoon, the Defence Secretary. Once said women would stop male MPs "behaving like a bunch of badly behaved schoolboys".

Hazel Blears, 47 (Salford, 1997-) Regarded as a rising star as police minister at the Home Office. A moderniser close to Blair.

Karen Buck, 45 (Regent's Park and Kensington North, 1997-) Backbencher who turned down a promotion to the whips' office in 2001 so that she could better represent her constituents. Has rebelled seven times since 2001.

Christine Butler, 60 (Castle Point, 1997-2001) Lost the seat to the former sitting Tory member, Bob Spink, in 2001.

Anne Campbell, 63 (Cambridge, 1997-) Normally loyal former parliamentary aide to Patricia Hewitt; played a key role as a sceptical backbencher during the run-up to this year's vote on university top-up fees.

Judith Church, 50 (Dagenham, 1994-2001) Former factory inspector and union official; succeeded by the former Downing Street adviser Jon Cruddas in 2001.

Helen Clark, 49 (Peterborough, 1997-) Maverick backbencher who recently narrowly avoided deselection.

Lynda Clarke, 55 (Edinburgh Pentlands, 1997-) Rapidly promoted to Advocate General for Scotland in 1999; close to Gordon Brown, who helped to secure her a seat.

Ann Clywd, 66 (Cynon Valley, 1984-) Left-winger once sacked from the front bench; became crucial in making the case for war against Iraq. Now Blair's human-rights envoy to the country.

Anne Coffey, 57 (Stockport, 1992-) Former opposition whip who became a parliamentary private secretary (PPS) to Tony Blair in 1997 before becoming an aide to Alistair Darling at the Department for Transport.

Yvette Cooper, 34 (Pontefract and Castleford, 1997-) Former Independent leader writer turned Health minister, who was moved sideways to the Lord Chancellor's Department and more recently the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. Wife of Ed Balls, the Chancellor's chief economic adviser.

Jean Corston, 61 (Bristol East, 1992-) Former aide to David Blunkett, and now acts as the shop steward for Labour MPs as chairman of the Parliamentary Labour Party.

Ann Cryer, 64 (Keighley, 1997-) Part of a Labour dynasty. The most rebellious of the 1997 intake of Labour women, voting against the Government 14 times since 2001.

Claire Curtis-Thomas, 45 (Crosby, 1997-) Has campaigned for family-friendly hours at Westminster, and is a vocal campaigner on false child-abuse allegations.

Valerie Davey, 63 (Bristol West, 1997-) Normally loyal backbencher who has defied the whips four times since 2001. An enthusiast for education, and has set on the Commons Education Committee since 1997.

Janet Dean, 55 (Burton, 1997-) Enthusiastic constituency MP who has kept a low profile at Westminster. Known for her strong support for the local brewing industry in her constituency.

Julia Drown, 41 (South Swindon, 1997-) Best known for her campaign to allow breastfeeding in the Commons; chairman of the all-party maternity group.

Gwyneth Dunwoody, 73 (Crewe/Crewe and Nantwich, 1974-; previously Exeter, 1966-70) An outspoken critic of the Government's transport policy who became a Labour cause célèbre after whips tried to remove her from the chairmanship of the Commons Transport Committee.

Angela Eagle, 42 (Wallasey, 1992-) Variously a whip, Environment minister and Social Security minister before she was promoted to the Home Office in 2001, but she was dropped from the Government in the last reshuffle.

Maria Eagle, 42 (Liverpool Garston, 1997-) Sister of Angela Eagle. Promoted to be a minster for Work and Pensions in 2001.

Louise Ellman, 58 (Liverpool Riverside, 1997-) Loyal backbencher who has voted against the whips only twice since 1997. Touted as a future mayor of Liverpool.

Lorna Fitzsimons, 36 (Rochdale, 1997-) Former president of the National Union of Students turned ultra-loyalist Blairite MP. Outspoken backer of the Government on university top-up fees.

Caroline Flint, 42 (Don Valley, 1997-) Fiercely loyal former parliamentary aide to Peter Hain, rewarded with a job in the Home Office as minister responsible for drugs.

Barbara Follett, 61 (Stevenage, 1997-) Wife of the bestselling novellist Ken Follett. Pro-European loyalist who has campaigned on women's issues. Member of the committee on Commons modernisation.

Maria Fyfe, 65 (Glasgow Mayhill, 1987-2001) Veteran left-winger; backed Tony Benn over Neil Kinnock in 1988. Stood down in 2001.

Linda Gilroy, 54 (Plymouth Sutton, 1997-) Parliamentary aide to the Local Government minister Nick Raynsford.

Llin Golding, 70 (Newcastle-under-Lyme, 1986-2001) Stood down at 2001 election.

Eileen Gordon, 57 (Romford, 1997-2001) Lost her seat to the Tories in 2001.

Jane Griffiths, 49 (Reading East, 1997-) Deselected at the weekend and replaced with local councillor Tony Page.

Harriet Harman, 58 (Camberwell and Peckham, 1992-) Enjoyed a short period as Social Security Secretary after 1997, a job she lost in 1998. Now back in the fold as Solicitor General.

Sylvia Heal, 61 (Halesowen and Rowley Regis, 1997-) Deputy Speaker since 2000.

Patricia Hewitt, 54 (Leicester West, 1997-) Former press aide to Kinnock; rose through the ranks to become Secretary of State for Trade and Industry after the 2001 election.

Margaret Hodge, 58 (Barking, 1994-) Rose through the ranks at Education before gaining her wide-ranging role as minister for children at the last reshuffle. An influential figure in the Government, close to Tony Blair.

Kate Hoey, 56 (Vauxhall, 1989-) Former Social Security, Home Office and Sports minister; returned to the back benches in 2001. Is now a vociferous government critic.

Beverley Hughes, 53 (Stretford and Urmston, 1997-) A minister since 1998, first at Environment; moved to a minister of state job at the Home Office in 2001, where she covers immigration, citizenship and counterterrorism.

Joan Humble, 52 (Blackpool North and Fleetwood, 1997-)Joan Humble, 52 (Blackpool North and Fleetwood, 1997-) Christian socialist member of the Commons Work and Pensions Committee.

Glenda Jackson, 67 (Hampstead and Highgate, 1992-) A former minister for London who quit her job to join the contest for Mayor of London. Has since become a vociferous critic of the Government, particularly over the conflict in Iraq.

Helen Jackson, 64 (Sheffield Hillsborough, 1992-) Former aide to Peter Mandelson and John Reid.

Melanie Johnson, 48 (Welwyn Hatfield, 1997-) Became a Treasury minister in 1999, then moved to the DTI; promoted to the Department of Health after the general election.

Fiona Jones, 47 (Newark, 1997-2001) Ousted by the Tories in 2001.

Helen Jones, 49 (Warrington North, 1997-) Loyal, but has defied the whips three times since 2001.

Jenny Jones, 56 (Wolverhampton South West, 1997-2001) Retired from the Commons three years ago.

Lynne Jones, 52 (Birmingham Selly Oak, 1992-) The most rebellious female backbencher in the current Parliament, Dr Jones underlined her left-wing credentials with persistent criticism of the war in Iraq.

Tessa Jowell, 56 (Dulwich and West Norwood, 1992-) Rose through the ranks to the Cabinet, serving as Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport since 2001.

Sally Keeble, 52 (Northampton North, 1997-) Former council leader, appointed PPS in 1999, then junior minister at Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions, and then International Development. Sacked last year.

Ann Keen, 55 (Brentford and Isleworth, 1997-) Parliamentary aide to Gordon Brown.

Ruth Kelly, 35 (Bolton West, 1992-) Appointed PPS in 1998 and rose rapidly through ranks to become Financial Secretary to the Treasury. Found time in between to have four children.

Jane Kennedy, 45 (Liverpool Wavertree, 1997-; previously Liverpool Broadgreen, 1992-1997) Blairite minister at the Northern Ireland Office.

Oona King, 36 (Bethnal Green and Bow, 1997-) Extremely loyal, voted for Iraq war. Made PPS in 2002; Patricia Hewitt's aide.

Tess Kingham, 41 (Gloucester, 1997-2001) As a mother, was so disillusioned by Commons working hours that she resigned in 2001.

Jackie Lawrence, 55 (Preseli Pembrokeshire, 1997-) Former council leader, appointed PPS in 2003 to Jacqui Smith, the equality minister.

Helen Liddell, 53 (Airdrie and Shotts, 1997-; previously Monklands East, 1994-97) Former Secretary of State for Scotland, left the Government in the last reshuffle.

Fiona MacTaggart, 50 (Slough, 1997-) The millionairess daughter of a business tycoon was appointed PPS straight away on her entry into the Commons and is now a junior Home Office minister.

Alice Mahon, 66 (Halifax, 1987-) Shop steward of Labour's left. (60)

Judy Mallaber, 52 (Amber Valley, 1997-) A member of Employment Sub-committee from 1997 to 2001, and remains a very loyal backbencher.

Christine McCafferty, 58 (Calder Valley, 1997-) Member of Procedure Committee from 1997 to 1999. Now member of International Development Select Committee. Loyal.

Siobhain McDonagh, 44 (Mitcham and Morden, 1997-) Extremely loyal backbencher, sister of Margaret McDonagh, a former Labour general secretary.

Anne McGuire, 54 (Stirling, 1997-) Appointed whip in 1998 and now minister in Constitutional Affairs Department.

Shona McIsaac, 43 (Cleethorpes, 1997-) PPS at Northern Ireland Office and currently aide to Baroness Scotland, Home Office minister.

Rosemary McKenna, 62 (Cumbernauld and Kilsyth, 1997-) Former council leader and union activist, briefly a PPS at the Foreign Office.

Gillian Merron, 44 (Lincoln, 1997-) PPS in 1998, became John Reid's aide in Northern Ireland, appointed assistant whip in 2002.

Laura Moffatt, 49 (Crawley, 1997-) PPS to Lord Irvine until 2003, and since then aide to Lord Falconer, the Lord Chancellor.

Margaret Moran, 48 (Luton South, 1997-) Immediately appointed PPS to Gavin Strang, Transport minister, then a variety of aide posts until 2003.

Julie Morgan, 59 (Cardiff North, 1997-) Wife of Rhodri Morgan, sensible left-winger, rebelled on eight votes in this Parliament.

Estelle Morris, 51 (Birmingham Yardley, 1992-) Famously resigned as Education Secretary, but was brought back into the Government as Arts minister.

Kali Mountford, 48 (Colne Valley, 1997-) PPS to Des Browne, the Work and Pensions minister, since last year. Doggedly loyal.

Mo Mowlam, 54 (Redcar, 1987-2001) Former Northern Ireland Secretary and darling of Labour's grassroots, she stood down from the Commons in 2001.

Diana Organ, 52 (Forest of Dean, 1997-) Criticised Tony Blair over the downgrading of cannabis. Rebelled four times since 2001.

Sandra Osborne, 48 (Ayr, 1997-) A former aide to Helen Liddell, she quit over Iraq.

Linda Perham, 56 (Ilford North, 1997-) Backbench campaigner on age discrimination.

Bridget Prentice, 51 (Lewisham East, 1992-) Whip who lost her job in 1998; became an aide to Lord Irvine. Back to the whips' office in 2003.

Dawn Primarolo, 49 (Bristol South, 1987-) Paymaster General since 1999.

Joyce Quin, 59 (Gateshead East and Washington West, 1997-; previously Gateshead East, 1987-97) Former Home Office, Foreign Office and Environment minister, she left the Government in 2001.

Barbara Roche, 49 (Hornsey and Wood Green, 1992-) Former minister in the Cabinet Office and the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister; sacked in 2003.

Joan Ruddock, 60 (Lewisham Deptford, 1987-) Former CND chief; was briefly unpaid minister for women.

Christine Russell, 58 (City of Chester, 1997-) Backbencher who ousted Gyles Brandreth in formerly safe Tory seat.

Joan Ryan, 48 (Enfield North, 1997-) A Government whip since 2003.

Debra Shipley, 46 (Stourbridge, 1997-) Backbencher who pushed through legislation to establish a register of child abusers.

Clare Short, 58 (Birmingham Ladywood, 1983-) Former International Development Secretary who resigned after the war in Iraq and has since become a trenchant critic of Blair.

Angela Smith, 45 (Basildon, 1997-) Junior Northern Ireland minister.

Geraldine Smith, 42 (Morecambe and Lunesdale, 1997-) Outspoken critic of the Government over Morecambe Bay cockle-picking tragedy.

Jacqui Smith, 41 (Redditch, 1997-) Highly regarded minister at Education, Health, the Home Office and the DTI.

Helen Southworth, 47 (Warrington South, 1997-) Charity worker elected from all-women short list; PPS in the Treasury. Shuns publicity, perhaps because she was the MP sticking her tongue out in the 1997 photo of women MPs.

Rachel Squire, 49 (Dunfermline West, 1992-) Rare English-born MP in Scottish seat. Suffered a brain tumour shortly after election, but recovered to become PPS to Stephen Byers. Loyalist; supported Blair in tuition fees vote.

Phyllis Starkey, 57 (Milton Keynes, 1997-) Loyal Blairite selected from all-women short list. Has defended the Government on issues from cuts to single-parent benefit to tuition fees. So loyal to the leadership that Ken Livingstone, the Mayor of London, called her "Phyllis Stasi".

Gisela Stuart, 48 (Birmingham Edgbaston, 1997-) German-born former college lecturer notched up Labour's first gain in Blair landslide. Rapidly made junior Health minister before surprisingly being dropped in 2001. Government representative on the convention on the future of the European constitution.

Ann Taylor, 56 (Dewsbury, 1987-; previously Bolton West, 1974-83) Long-term Labour front-bencher on the right of the party; Leader of the Commons 1997-98, Chief Whip 1998-2001. Now chairs the Intelligence and Security Committee, which scrutinises the work of MI5 and MI6.

Dari Taylor, 59 (Stockton South, 1997-) Welsh-born MP's daughter who became a college lecturer and union education officer. Selected from an all-women shortlist, she is now a PPS in the Home Office.

Joan Walley, 55 (Stoke-on-Trent North, 1987-) Briefly a member of the Campaign group. Spent seven years on the front bench in opposition, but was dropped in 1995. Occasional rebel, including over foundation hospitals.

Claire Ward, 32 (Watford, 1997-) Student activist and trainee solicitor who became the youngest MP when first elected at the age of 24. Although from left-wing family, inevitably got reputation as Blairite moderniser. Now PPS in the Department of Health.

Betty Williams, 59 (Conwy, 1997-) Strong supporter of devolution; has Welsh as first language. Has rebelled eight times.

Rosie Winterton, 45 (Doncaster Central, 1997-) Worked for eight years in John Prescott's office before being parachuted into safe seat. Promoted to Government in 2001; currently minister in the Department of Health. (96)

Audrey Wise, died aged 65 in 2000 (Preston, 1987-2000; previously Coventry SW, 1974-79) Former shop assistant and typist; stalwart of the Campaign group. Serial rebel against Blair in his first years in government.

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