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The BBC's Carolyn Quinn
"She was saying goodbye before the conference had barely begun"
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banner Sunday, 24 September, 2000, 16:51 GMT 17:51 UK
Labour salutes 'Our Mo'
mo mowlam and tony blair
Mowlam: "We must make sure we work as a team"
Mo Mowlam has received a standing ovation at Labour's party conference, speaking of the "pain and pleasure" of her 13 years in politics.

The Cabinet Office Minister told delegates that her decision to stand down as an MP at the next election was one of the hardest she had ever made.

She also urged the party not to lose its nerve and be knocked off course by attacks from the Conservatives or the media.

The MP for Redcar warned that the Tories will fight dirty at the election, and Labour will have to work as hard as it did last time to win.

She's the one

Delegates were shown a brief video of her political life, called Our Mo, accompanied by Robbie Williams's hit song She's The One.

Then Ms Mowlam was welcomed on stage by one of her junior ministers, Ian McCartney.

After fighting her way through what she described as a "jungle" of press photographers, she told delegates she was "very proud" to be part of the government.

She added that she would do everything she could to secure a second term for the party.

It would be a crime to let the Tories turn back the clock

Mo Mowlam
With Prime Minister Tony Blair sitting alongside her, the former Northern Ireland Secretary said of Labour's achievements: "We must look at it as a bottle half full not half empty."

"I can understand frustration and not moving as quickly as people want but we should never lose sight of what we have achieved," she said.

"The past 13 years as an MP have been a mixture of pain and pleasure, of 10 years in opposition, years of frustration and anger," Ms Mowlam continued.

"It would be a crime to let the Tories turn back the clock," she said.

Fight dirty

In a bitter attack on the Conservatives, Ms Mowlam accused them of playing the "despicable cards of prejudice and racism" to exploit the fears of vulnerable people.

She warned delegates that in the coming election the Conservatives would "fight dirty".

"But I know it is a fight we are ready for," she said.

Ms Mowlam said the building blocks were in place but warned: "We mustn't lose our nerve and be knocked off course by attacks from the Tories or the media.

"We must make sure we work as a team," she added.

Ms Mowlam finished her speech by pledging her support to the party.

"I am just as determined as ever to see the party that I love and the party that I am proud of take every single seat we can," she concluded.

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See also:

24 Sep 00 | Labour
Blair comes out fighting
23 Sep 00 | Labour
Brighton may rock Labour
18 Sep 00 | Labour
Labour conference coverage
24 Sep 00 | Labour
Labour conference schedule
04 Sep 00 | UK
Profile: Unorthodox Mo
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