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Blair to warn 'complacent' Labour


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Blair to warn 'complacent' Labour

Labour cannot afford to take winning the next general election for granted, Tony Blair is to warn party activists.

In the closing speech at Labour's spring conference, Mr Blair will warn against letting the Tories into power through complacency.

He will also accuse Michael Howard's party of "spreading cynicism" and pursuing a "hard right agenda", a spokesman said.

Opposition parties say voters face tax rises and means testing under Labour.

In what is being trailed by Labour as a "highly personal speech", Mr Blair will look back at his 10 years as Labour leader and say he still has "hunger and passion for the job", the spokesman said.

He will also accuse the Tories of "seeking power through the back door" by spreading "cynicism and disillusionment" to "depress our vote and get out theirs with a hard-right agenda".

But he will also warn the Labour Party "not to underestimate this strategy", the spokesman added.

Mr Blair will also set out Labour's policies for a third term and claim the party has delivered on its previous election pledges.

The spokesman said Mr Blair would also "thank the British people" for their economic and public service successes since 1997.

Protest vote

But he is not expected to name the date of the election.

Labour strategists are worried divisions over Iraq, university tuition fees and foundation hospitals - and the fact the party is ahead in the polls - will persuade some traditional Labour voters to stay at home or risk a protest vote.

On Saturday, Chancellor Gordon Brown warned a victory for the Conservatives would put Britain's economic stability and growth at risk and inflict deep cuts in public services including the NHS, which he said was "not safe" in Tory hands.

Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesman Vince Cable accused Mr Brown of overblowing his "very mixed" record on the economy.

"Gordon Brown has created a system of massive centralisation and bureaucracy," said Dr Cable.

The Tories dismissed Mr Brown's speech as "more talk".

A party spokesman said: "He completely failed to say which taxes he would put up to fill the black hole in his spending plans.

"There will be a simple choice at the election - value for money and lower taxes with the Conservatives, or more waste and higher taxes under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown."

Story from BBC NEWS:


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