`Best of mates' launch manifesto

THOSE best of buddies Tony Blair and Gordon Brown joined senior party figures this morning in London's Docklands to launch Labour's manifesto for the 2006 local election campaign.

By Graham Dines

THOSE best of buddies Tony Blair and Gordon Brown joined senior party figures this morning in London's Docklands to launch Labour's manifesto for the 2006 local election campaign.

Also present at this Labour love in were Deputy Prime Minister, John Prescott, Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell and party chairman Ian McCartney.

The Prime Minister said there were three key messages which the campaign had to get across to voters.


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“The first is that the average council tax in the country is lower under Labour than under the Liberal Democrat or Conservative authorities. We have got to keep it that way - and we will.

“Second, we are the champions of the campaign against anti-social behaviour.

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“Third, we are the party that believes in education for all, not simply a privileged few.”

And just to prove how much he regards his Chancellor - notwithstanding all the media gossip over a rift at the top of government - Mr Blair said: “It all depends on a strong economy and, thanks to Gordon, we have got a strong economy.”

“Over these past years we have developed economic efficiency, a very strong economy, low levels of unemployment - long-term youth unemployment virtually abolished. But we have done that in order that we use the proceeds of that strong economy to invest in our public services.”

The Chancellor, continuing the matey language, said: “As Tony has said we have been able to do more, partly because we have been able to put more money into councils to invest in education itself.

“As Tony has said education is absolutely central and excellence in education is what this Labour Party is all about. We believe in developing, not just some of the potential of some of our children, but all of the potential of all of our children. And these will be the issues on which we will win the local elections.”

There are contests in 20 English unitary authorities, 32 London boroughs, 36 metropolitan districts and 88 English shire districts next month, including Waveney, Ipswich, Colchester, Brentwood, Epping Forest, Harlow and Southend-on-Sea.

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