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Leo gets the vote for names

PUBLISHED: 17:49 04 January 2002 | UPDATED: 11:06 03 March 2010

POLITICS showed an unprecedented influence on the most popular babies' names last year as Leo - the name given to Prime Minister Tony Blair's son - climbed an impressive 42 places, figures showed today.

POLITICS showed an unprecedented influence on the most popular babies' names last year as Leo - the name given to Prime Minister Tony Blair's son - climbed an impressive 42 places, figures showed today.

The Office for National Statistics' annual list of most frequently registered names showed little change at the top, with Jack and Chloe holding the number one spots for the seventh and fifth years respectively.

Leo climbed to number 101 and other significant rises were Holly (up 10 to 19) and Ethan (up 11 to 21).

"There's not been many changes at the top this year but there are one or two unusual names coming through at the lower end," said an ONS spokesman.

"It's notable that the Prime Minister's son was named Leo - we can't say whether there's any link but it has gone up quite a large number of places.'

An alternative explanation for Leo's popularity may be the actor Leonardo DiCaprio.

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The table suggested parents were being influenced by the names celebrities give their children, rather than naming their offspring after the stars themselves.

In the girl's chart, Mia was the highest climber (up 20 places to number 25), possibly due to Titanic actress Kate Winslet's daughter.

Dylan rose 10 places to number 28 in the boy's table, perhaps as a result of the name chosen by film stars Catherine Zeta Jones and Michael Douglas for their son.

Much lower in the figures, and too low to chart, the ONS said Rocco was beginning to appear in the statistics - a likely influence of Madonna and Guy Ritchies' choice of name for their son.

Tyler, at number 41, was the highest new entry in the boys' top 50, up 10 places from last year.

Harrison was the only other boys' new entry, up eight places to number 48.

Ethan showed the biggest increase in popularity among the boys, up 11 places to number 21.

Among the girls, Erin was the highest new entry up 10 to number 41 - possibly attributable to the hit Julia Roberts movie Erin Brockovich - and Millie came in at number 42 (also up 10).

For the sixth year running, the top five boys' names remain virtually the same, the only change being Joshua and James exchanging places on last year at numbers three and four respectively.

The top three girls' names remain the same, with Jessica moving up one place to number four and Sophie moving up two places to number five, knocking Charlotte out the top five.

Last year's losers in the boy's chart were Rhys and Charles, which dropped out the top 50 altogether, and Robert (down six to number 47) and Christopher (down seven to number 49).

The ONS said Harry may be "one to watch' for next year, as it remained stationary at number six.

"The Harry Potter film came out at the end of last year and so any influence it may have had isn't reflected in these figures yet,' said the ONS spokesman.

"It has been a popular prince's name and now it's a popular wizard's name.'

Faring less well in the girls' list were Courtney (down nine to number 30) and Natasha (down 10 to number 49), while Chelsea and Imogen dropped out the top 50.

Another name which was beginning to be reported, but in numbers too small to chart, was Maximus - probably after Russell Crowe's protagonist in Ridley Scott's hit movie Gladiator.

The girl's name Angelina rose an astonishing 277 to 483, an increase most likely down to Tomb Raider actress Angelina Jolie.

The General Register Office in Scotland also found Jack and Chloe were the most popular names given to babies in Scotland in 2001.

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A total of 522,853 births were registered during the year - 267,875 boys and 254,978 girls.

Statistics show that Jack and Chloe's popularity was far ahead of their nearest rivals, being given 607 and 896 more times than second-placed Thomas and Emily respectively.

A separate survey conducted by The Daily Telegraph showed Thomas, Emily and Charlotte were the favourite names for children among their readers.

In the newspaper's study of announcements placed in its Births Column during the year Jack secured only 13th place and Chloe was chosen just three times.

Thomas topped the newspaper's poll for the third year running while Emily, the favourite girl's name in 2000, tied with Charlotte for first place.

A trend for naming girls after flowers saw Poppy take 11th place in the Telegraph poll while Frederick, Archie, Phoebe and Ella appeared for the first time in the top 10.

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It remains to be seen whether Chancellor Gordon Brown's daughter Jennifer, born seven weeks premature on Friday, will have a similar influence on the tables.

The name Jennifer is currently in 80th place, and was given to 550 baby girls last year.

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