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Monday, September 27, 1999 Published at 22:07 GMT 23:07 UK

UK will meet euro tests - Mandelson

Former Trade Secretary Peter Mandelson has said he is confident the UK would meet the economic tests set down for joining the euro.

Speaking at a fringe meeting at the Labour conference, Mr Mandelson said the UK stood a strong chance of meeting the economic conditions set down by Chancellor Gordon Brown for joining the single currency.

Mr Mandelson told the meeting, organised by the Pro-European Centre for European Reform, that the European Union was moving towards "social democratic consensus" that involved greater flexibility and less regulation in all member states.

The speech was Mr Mandelson's second appearance in support of entry into the single currency in as many days.

Support for Labour softening - Draper

New Labour needs a radical rethink of its policies and image, according to lobbyist Derek Draper.

The former aide to Peter Mandelson, who was speaking at a conference fringe meeting in Bournemouth, warned that the party's modernisers were "in danger of losing their way".

He said there was a lack of vision which had led to dissatisfaction among party workers and an overall "softening" in Labour's support.

Mr Draper said: "What do we offer?

"We offer, on the one hand, generalities that anyone can support, like fairness, and we also offer a competence which, to be honest, the majority of voters will actually take for granted."

Jay's tells of Lords reform struggle

The Leader of the House of Lords, Baroness Jay, has described her struggle to reform the upper chamber.

Lady Jay told the Labour conference that by the end of this parliamentary session, hereditary peers would have been removed from the House of Lords.

She paid tribute to her party colleagues in the upper chamber who had endured "days, weeks, of self-indulgent debate" led by hereditaries.

Hereditaries had been "desperate to hang on to their privileges in what they call 'the best club in London'". she said.

'More scrutiny in 21st century councils'

Local authorities should be more open and accountable, Local Government Minister Hilary Armstrong has told the Labour party conference.

Ms Armstrong told delegates that in the "21st century council" there must be "genuine scrutiny of every decision" regardless of the party.

The minister told conference that Labour would end the whipping system on scrutiny committees giving councillors power to "really hold their local leaders to account".

Ms Armstrong said: "It is time we recognised that local democracy is failing in this country."

Opinion poll blow for Blair

An opinion poll has suggested support for Prime Minister Tony Blair has fallen dramatically in the past year.

According to a Gallup poll conducted for The Daily Telegraph, 37% of people agreed when asked if Mr Blair was proving an outstanding prime minister. Almost two thirds - 60% - disagreed.

Asked if things had actually got better since the 1997 general election, 30% said yes, but the majority - 53% - said there had been no change. A further 16% believed things had got worse.

But more than half - 53% - described themselves as reasonably satisfied with the government, while 32% said they were somewhat dissatisfied, 11% described their feelings as very unhappy and only 3% as very enthusiastic.

Blair promises criminal DNA testing

The prime minister has told The Mirror he will bring in compulsory DNA tests for criminals.

The genetic markers would be used to compile a vast database on people with criminal convictions.

He told the tabloid: "It could be a real weapon in the war against crime. I want us to build up a DNA database so that anyone who is involved in crime goes on that database.

"Then when a crime is committed the police can go into it and see if they can match DNA found at the scene of the crime with the DNA on that database."

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