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Last Updated: Thursday, 28 September 2006, 11:55 GMT 12:55 UK
Wales@Westminster newslog
Peter Hain
Could the future be as bright for Mr Hain as his skin colour?

The Wales@Westminster weblog, BBC Wales' Parliamentary correspondent David Cornock's diary on political life, in Manchester at the Labour conference.

Thursday, 28 September

Hain gets last word

posted by David | 1245 BST |

The last word on Peter Hain - at least for this week.

The Welsh and Northern Ireland secretary enjoyed his moment in the conference sun this morning, delivering a rallying speech to delegates.

Sadly, the promised video of Mr Hain working in a steering systems factory in his constituency - designed to show that cabinet ministers are in touch with real people - wasn't shown at the conference.

The non-appearance of the video follows a dispute with the man who filmed it, student Danny Dewsbury, who has protested that he wasn't paid for his work.

The Labour Party say he signed up as a volunteer for work experience, and should expect expenses only.

That may be the reason why we didn't see the video - nothing to do with the suggestion that the steering systems Mr Hain worked on tended to veer to the left at unpredictable moments.

The conference finished with confirmation from John Prescott that he will step down as deputy leader and deputy prime minister when Tony Blair leaves Downing Street.

His speech, which each year evokes yet more memories of the late Les Dawson, fired the starting gun for a contest to replace him. Peter Hain was out of the blocks some time ago and has already completed a lap or two on the campaign trail.

We still don't know when that election will take place. Mr Hain joined Welsh delegates for a stunt designed to highlight the Conservative leader David Cameron's alleged inconsistency on key policies in the run-up to the Welsh assembly election next May.

The Tories know who their leader will be during that election campaign. For all the unity on public display this week, Labour don't know who will be in Downing Street for that campaign. Some Labour MPs are still unhappy about that. Tony Blair's problems are far from over.


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