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Last Updated: Wednesday, 9 March 2005, 11:29 GMT
Honesty best policy, Labour told
David Blunkett
David Blunkett says voters are smarter than politicians think
Former Home Secretary David Blunkett has warned Labour to be more honest with the voters.

The first step in "rebuilding trust" should be a "different style" of manifesto, Mr Blunkett said during a lecture in Birmingham.

This should have fewer statistics and more evidence that the government has been listening, he argued.

Mr Blunkett resigned in December after an inquiry found a visa for his ex-lover's nanny was fast-tracked.

The former home secretary warned, during the Joseph Chamberlain Lecture at the Balsall Heath forum on Wednesday, that turn-out is the biggest threat to Labour's hopes of victory.

People must be persuaded it is worth voting, he said.

Listening

"This means being honest in answering questions and presenting facts, listening to the issues that concern people, responding to them in making policy and drawing up the manifesto.

"I believe that a first step in rebuilding trust should be a different style of manifesto, with fewer statistics and a greater presentation of the challenges, coupled with a reflection on what the Big Conversation brought to British politics and to our thinking."

He also said voters were smarter than many politicians thought.

"They get the messages very quickly and understand them better than some people writing about politics give them credit for," he said.

"It is the involvement of people in decisions in their lives and active government - not big government - which will help the steady rebuilding of confidence in the political process."

Details of the on-going dispute between Mr Blunkett and his former girlfriend Kimberly Quinn have resurfaced in the newspapers this week.

But Tony Blair has appointed Mr Blunkett a "key campaigner" in his party's election campaign.

He has also been tipped for a return to the cabinet after the forthcoming election.


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