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Labour Sunday, 30 September, 2001, 16:04 GMT 17:04 UK
Prescott speech sets sombre tone
Prescott: Time to focus on the next election
Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott has said any military response to the US terror attacks should be "measured".

He also stressed the need for political solutions in recognition of "our humanitarian responsibility to each other".


We can put Labour's stamp on the first decade of a new millennium

John Prescott
The sombre speech was in marked contrast to Mr Prescott's usual barnstorming performance that this year should have seen him celebrating its second landslide victory.

Instead the deputy prime minister said it was time for tolerance in respect of the UK's ethnic minorities, and he urged Labour members to reach out to people from different backgrounds.

"It's not the time for victory celebrations," he told delegates in Brighton.

"But do not underestimate our major achievements. It was a clear endorsement of what Labour stands for."

Public services

He said that it was time to focus on the next election and a third Labour win.

"People demand better public services and so they should. They look to us to deliver them.

"That was our commitment in the election. That is the responsibility not just of ministers but of all of us."

Referring to the forthcoming battle between unions and the government over the involvement of the private sector in public services, he said that years of "disinvestment" meant that a partnership between the two was necessary.

"Good public services need good public servants. The two have to be brought together in order to achieve quality services."

He added: "We can put Labour's stamp on the first decade of a new millennium - that will be our electoral stairway to a third historic election victory."

Difficult times

Mr Prescott acknowledged that year's conference was meeting "in difficult times, in the shadow of terrorism and potential war".

"But we are determined and proud. Determined to play our part in defeating terrorism. Proud of our democratic institutions.

"If we can organise a global consensus against international terrorism, I tell you, we can organise a global consensus against world poverty."

See also:

11 Sep 01 | UK Politics
30 Sep 01 | Middle East
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