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Last Updated: Friday, 29 September 2006, 08:17 GMT 09:17 UK
Labour conference at-a-glance
All you need to know about the 2006 Labour conference:


Tony Blair admits "it's hard to let go" as he used his last Labour conference speech as leader to urge the party to unite and win a fourth term.

John Prescott apologises for letting Labour down over the past year and announces it will be his last conference as deputy leader.

Extremist Muslim "bullies" must be faced down, John Reid tells the Labour conference in a speech which heightened speculation of a leadership bid.

Gordon Brown makes his pitch to the Labour Party conference in Manchester to be Britain's next prime minister.

Cherie Blair denies accusing Gordon Brown of lying during his keynote Labour conference speech.

Gordon Brown "never fully reconciled" himself to Tony Blair becoming Labour leader instead of him in 1994, Peter Mandelson tells BBC News.

Deputy leadership contenders Peter Hain and Harriet Harman clash at a fringe meeting, with Mr Hain dubbing his rivals foreign policy ideas "amateurish".

Tony Blair is likely to stay as prime minister longer than some had expected, Education Secretary Alan Johnson says.

Former American President Bill Clinton warns that Labour's biggest problem is that people take its achievements for granted.

Newly declared deputy leadership challenger Jon Cruddas tells an evening fringe meeting he cannot look his constituents in the face and tell them things have got better under Labour.

Poverty campaigner Bob Geldof urges Gordon Brown to stump up 400m in new money to help developing countries.


All the latest news on the race to be Labour's next leader and deputy leader.

Home Secretary John Reid's big set-piece speech includes a long section on "leadership" - widely interpreted as a bid to succeed Tony Blair.

John Prescott, who said this would be his last conference as deputy leader, has reportedly gives his backing to Gordon Brown as the next leader.

Labour backbencher Jon Cruddas has confirmed that he will stand for the deputy leadership of the Labour Party if and when there is a vacancy. He had been known to have been considering such a move.

Environment Secretary David Miliband appeared to rule out a leadership bid, saying he was "not a runner or a rider" and that Gordon Brown was an excellent prime minister in waiting.

Alan Johnson told BBC Breakfast he was not going to talk about the leadership this week - just concentrate on the issues.

Work and Pensions secretary John Hutton has refused to rule out challenging for the leadership, telling the Today programme "I'm not answering that question yet".

Another potential leadership challenger, Alan Milburn, also refused to rule out a bid, telling a fringe meeting he wanted to talk about issues rather than personalities. He said too many people had thrown their hats into the ring for the deputy leadership.

Jack Straw says he has not made his mind up about whether to launch a deputy leadership bid.

Two people who have declared an interest in the deputy's job, Harriet Harman and Peter Hain both pledged their undying loyalty to Gordon Brown at the same meeting and ruled out a bid for the top job.


Things they wish they'd never said. Stephen Pound was telling a fringe meeting how he had never been able to persuade any of his three wives to join the Labour Party. "Mind you, two of them are dead so at least we can get their postal votes," he quipped to nervous laughter - which turned into a roar when panel chairman Martin Salter pointed out our microphone. "Ironically," added Mr Pound.

Joke of the week came from conference organiser Jeremy Beecham pointing to the difference in size between the succession of recent Labour chairmen: the bulky Charles Clarke, John Reid, diminutive Ian McCartney and pint-sized Hazel Blears. "It's like Russian dolls," says Beecham.

Prize for the most poorly-attended fringe meeting must go to the Work Foundation, who invited the editor of The Idler magazine, Tom Hodgkinson, to speak about his campaign to bring back the three-day-week. Mr Hodgkinson spoke for half an hour to an audience of six. It seems nobody else could be bothered to turn up...

What a triumph of conference timing. The fringe meeting debating "Labour and the Lib Dems: do two tribes have to go to war?" was scheduled at the same time as the meeting looking at how to oppose Lib Dem councils. And Labour criticised the Lib Dems for saying different things to different people.

David Miliband is seen as one of the movers and shakers of the Cabinet - and boy, was he moving at one fringe meeting. When a Moby track struck up in the next door tent, Miliband could not contain him and started dancing in his seat. He stopped and looked rather sheepish when we noticed his moves.


Who was the better speaker Tony or Bill?

That was the question troubling Labour bloggers as the conference drew to a close.

No contest reckons official Labour blogger Jonathan Roberts "His [Clinton's] speech was ok, he explains his ideas in a very thoughtful and intelligent way, but has nothing like the oratory skills we saw yesterday of TB".

Mr Roberts finally got to shake the hand of his political hero, Mr Blair, on Wednesday evening. "I was expecting a slightly firmer pressure, and in this embarrassing mix-up of hand-shaking etiquette, I might have accidentally crunched a knuckle or two," he writes.

Elsewhere the debate was all about the leadership and deputy leadership. Was Jon Cruddas - the former Downing Street aide who chose conference week to launch a campaign for the not-yet-vacant deputy's job - just flying a kite?

"He is a really nice guy but... has not got a chance of winning and he knows it," writes Mike Ion on Labour Home.

"However his presence will make the internal debate focus more heavily (and rightly in my view) on party processes and policy making. "

Mwelli had a different view. "I don't agree with Mike Ion that he's flying a kite without a proper chance to win - as a fresh face, solidly respected by the unions and a strong community campaigner, he's got to be an attractive choice."


Cherie and Tony Blair
The Blairs savour their moment in the spotlight


"It has been a privilege for me to work with and for the most successful ever Labour leader and Labour prime minister," Gordon Brown. "Well, that's a lie," Cherie Blair's reported comment after watching Mr Brown's account of his relationship with her husband.

"At least I don't have to worry about her running off with the bloke next door," Tony Blair on his wife's alleged faux pas.

"The chancellor might have all sorts of flaws but his inner strength as a politician came through," Peter Mandelson on Mr Brown's big speech.

"I know in the last year I let myself down, I let you down. So conference, I just want to say sorry," John Prescott bows out.

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