You know me - I'm in the Cabinet

CABINET ministers have been told to turn on the charm this week to glad hand the party faithful in what is widely assumed to be the last Labour conference before a General Election last year.

CABINET ministers have been told to turn on the charm this week to glad hand the party faithful in what is widely assumed to be the last Labour conference before a General Election last year.

Nowhere was this instruction more evident than at the East of England reception for delegates from across the region, writes Graham Dines.

As usual the Prime Minister put in appearance to give a pep talk on the Government's achievements accompanied by a dire warning that if they did not work hard, the Tories would win by default and undo all the progress of past seven years.

It was a 10 minute speech which, no doubt, was virtually identical to other speeches at the other regional receptions. But we will never know. Such are the rules, that members of the media are allowed to listen to what the Prime Minister has to say - and indeed to meet him - but nothing of the substance can be reported.


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With Labour MPs under threat in Harwich, Braintree, Watford, St Albans, Cambridge, Bedford and a host of seats in Hertfordshire, Cabinet ministers turned up to chat to delegates and the media about the messages to delivered to wavering voters across the six counties of the East of England.

Leader of the House of Commons Peter Hain, the Constitutional Affairs Secretary Lord Falconer, and the Government Chief Whip Hilary Armstrong joined Education Secretary and Norwich South MP Charles Clarke in working the room to urge a massive push to see off the challenge from not only the Tories but also the Liberal Democrats.

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