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Last Updated: Monday, 27 September, 2004, 09:22 GMT 10:22 UK
Cabinet minister starts web diary
Ian McCartney
Mr McCartney was e-government minister
Labour chairman Ian McCartney is the first cabinet minister to start a web log in an effort to connect with party members during its annual rally.

Mr McCartney's "conference diary" will continue to the end of the conference but is a sign Labour wants to make better use of the internet.

In the first posting, at 1127 BST on Sunday, the Labour chairman describes the atmosphere as "brilliant".

But his message had attracted only one response by 0950 on Monday.

A contributor to the Labour website urged Mr McCartney: "Don't let them keep too tight a rein on you Ian. We like you to speak your mind."

Youth engagement

The minister tries to give a flavour of conference life for those unable to attend, describing the pleasure of meeting up with friends over a pint and a hectic series of fringe meetings set to leave him hoarse.

One of his aides told BBC News Online Mr McCartney was interested in the internet from his previous role as minister for e-government.

Mr McCartney has also voiced his determination to try to engage with voters and is especially keen on the internet as 90% of people using web logs are under 30.

The move comes as the Tories try to increase their internet campaigning by allowing new members to sign up online for the first time.

The BBC's Carole Walker
"Tony Blair has brought in a key ally, Alan Milburn"

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