It took just two hours, but history was made with good grace and dignity yesterday. In that time, John Major left to see the Queen and watch cricket, and new Prime Minister Tony Blair walked through the doors of 10 Downing Street for lunch. Unlike previous occasions there was no cynicism, no ill feeling, just congratulations from all players to all. If, as everyone had charged, Britain's three main parties were now singing the same tune, it manifested itself in mutual plaudits. The seismic shift which saw Labour into government with its biggest-ever majority - in a victory which made even Lady Thatcher's pale by comparison - was done with smiles, cheers and not a little patriotic flag waving. Mr Major left No 10 at 11 am with a smile and a wave, no tears. A call on the Queen and off to the Oval for cricket, wishing Mr Blair 'sincere congratulations, every good fortune'. Removal van doors were opened up behind No 10. Mr Blair, meanwhile, was leaving his inner city Islington home wearing a spotted blue tie which would have gone well on any Tory politician. The street was packed as he took time to shake hands with well-wishers. A 10-minute cavalcade across the city, 15 minutes with the Queen and Mr Blair was Prime Minister. The sunlit Mall and Whitehall were packed with flag-waving crowds and tourists who slowly realised what they were witnessing. The chant was 'Tony, Tony' as he walked the length of Downing Street for his first public speech as Prime Minister. Mr Blair's opening words were to pay tribute to Mr Major, 'his courage over the last few days and the manner of his leaving, the essential decency of which is the mark of the man'. If Britain has problems then, for a day at least, it seemed they were forgotten. Despite the threat of the IRA, the police opened the normally sealed gates of Downing Street to let the public in. Many had been waiting since early morning. It seemed half the nation had stayed up watching the swingometers of the TV pundits almost go off track as this unprecedented landslide took place. The news began to look terrible for the Tories when the exit polls were broadcast as voting ended. The first result, 47 minutes later, confirmed the news and, within another 30 minutes, everyone knew Mr Blair was heading for Downing Street. He and his family flew to London from his seat in the northeast of England to a 5 am street party outside the Royal Festival Hall. Mr Blair received what must have been a bitter-sweet welcome from Neil Kinnock, Labour's nearly man at the last vote in 1992, as a band sang It Can Only Get Better. Across town at Conservative Central Office, Mr Major lost his wife in the crowd and cracked jokes. 'So right, OK we lost,' he laughed.