Blair was elected Labour Party leader in the leadership election of July 1994, following the sudden death of his predecessor, John Smith. Under his leadership, the party used the phrase "New Labour" to distance it from previous Labour policies. Blair declared opposition to the traditional conception of socialism, and declared support for a new conception that he referred to as "social-ism", involving politics that recognised individuals as socially interdependent, and advocated social justice, cohesion, equal worth of each citizen, and equal opportunity. Critics of Blair denounced him for having the Labour Party abandon genuine socialism and accepting capitalism.
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