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Last Updated: Sunday, 13 February, 2005, 16:39 GMT
Blair's 'passion' for third term
Tony Blair
Mr Blair said he still had a hunger for the job of prime minister
Tony Blair has spoken of the passion he feels for the Labour Party winning another general election, but warned his supporters against complacency.

"I have the same passion and hunger as when I first walked through the door of 10 Downing Street," the PM insisted.

But he said voters needed to be persuaded to go forward with Labour - not back with the Conservatives.

However Tory co-chairman Liam Fox dismissed Mr Blair's speech as "just more talk".

Mr Blair, addressing delegates at the end of Labour's three-day spring conference in Gateshead, said he had learned important lessons during his time in office.

I'm still the same person. Older. A little wiser, I hope. But still with the same commitment and belief
Tony Blair

He acknowledged: "I understand why some people feel angry, not just over Iraq but many of the difficult decisions we have made."

But while world events, particularly after 11 September, 2001, had taken him far from Britain, he emphasised that the "top line of his job spec" was to look after Britain and its people.

He described his relationship with the public as euphoric to start with, followed by a struggle to live up to the expectations, then getting to the point of raised voices and "throwing crockery".

John Prescott and Tony Blair
A packed audience of supporters heard the speech
Despite opinion polls giving Labour a comfortable lead, he issued a stern warning that the party could still lose the election by taking victory for granted.

"It's a fight for the future of our country, it's a fight that for Britain and the people of Britain we have to win," he stressed.

'Your decision'

He said that whether the public chose Michael Howard or Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy, it would result in "a Tory government not a Labour government and a country that goes back and does not move forward".

Today we heard more of the same from Tony Blair
Liam Fox

Mr Blair also accused the Tories of "seeking power through the back door" by spreading "cynicism and disillusionment" to "depress our vote and get out theirs with a hard-right agenda".

Dr Fox said: "Today we heard more of the same from Tony Blair.

"He wants people to believe that he now has the answers to the problems Britain faces but people know that it's just more talk."

The Lib Dems home affairs spokesman Mark Oaten said: "This was another classic Blair speech which was very touchy-feely, but I suspect the public have heard too many of these speeches now and what they will remember is the question of trust."

Daily struggle

Setting out Labour's policies for a third term, Mr Blair said he had learnt from his visits to communities around the country.

He told delegates: "I learnt that when I'm working hard, doing my damnedest and wondering, frustrated, why people can't appreciate the delivery, it's so easy to forget life is still so tough for so many people, a real-life daily struggle, not for a life of luxury, but just to get by."

Mr Blair gave no hint on the actual date for the general election - expected to be on 5 May.

Around 50 ministers are visiting constituencies across Britain on Sunday to drum up interest in the six pledges unveiled by Labour on Friday.

The prime minister will devote next week's Parliamentary recess to a series of campaigning visits around the country.

Blair urges supporters to head for the ballot box

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