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Last Updated: Thursday, 7 October, 2004, 16:33 GMT 17:33 UK
'Come and join us' urges Howard
Michael Howard
Mr Howard urged his party to get out and spread his message
Michael Howard has brought his party's annual conference to a close with a call to disaffected Labour and Lib Dem voters to back the Conservatives.

He urged those who had voted Labour, but now felt let down, to "come and join" the Conservatives.

Mr Howard said Tories would give "value for money" and highlighted his party's stance on law and order.

"We are the only choice if you want a government that will wage war on crime," he said.

The Tory leader said people in Britain had lost faith in the government's ability to provide "a good, local school for their children or a clean hospital when their parents fall ill".

'Honest'

In Bournemouth, Mr Howard argued people were not asking for miracles: "They just want a government that makes their lives that little bit easier, that little bit better - month by month, year by year.

"A government which is generous in spirit and competent in action.

"A government which is honest. A government they can trust."

Mr Howard's pitch for votes extended to people who had not voted in past.

"We are the only choice if you want a government that is responsible and accountable to you," he said.

"If you agree, whoever you are, whatever party you may have supported in the past, come and join us."

Ready to deliver?

He added that voters were currently being held back by government.

"We need to hand power back from politicians to people - doctors, nurses, teachers, parents, families."

Mr Howard said his party was ready to "help our country" pledging only to promise what they can deliver.

"We're going to be straight with people," because "that was the only way Conservatives could win people's trust".

The Tory leader then ended the annual gathering by urging his party workers to get out and tell voters about the Conservative 'timetable for action'.

Accountability?

Returning to the theme of his speech earlier this week, he also highlighted the ten words "plus one" that party activists could use on the doorstep.

"School discipline, more police, cleaner hospitals, lower taxes, controlled immigration., Ten words - plus one: accountability. That's how we'll make a difference. That's why we'll be different.

"The hopes and dreams of millions of people are resting on us."

But Labour's Paul Boateng, the chief secretary to the Treasury, accused the Tories of committing themselves to "an immediate 20bn cut across the board that would mean frontline cuts to public services".

The Liberal Democrat chairman Matthew Taylor said Mr Howard's time-table for action was a "recipe for inaction".

"Inaction," he added, "because many of these proposals could not be done on this timescale and inaction because in reality the British public are rejecting the Conservatives more than ever before."


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