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Last Updated: Thursday, 12 May, 2005, 12:22 GMT 13:22 UK
At a glance: Blair news briefing
Here are the main points from Tony Blair's first Downing Street press conference since winning a third election:


  • Mr Blair promised a "bold programme" for the new Parliament
  • He also promised to accelerate reform on issues like childcare, schools, crime

  • There would be a Green Paper on reform of incapacity benefit to give those who can the chance to work

  • He said people were "fed up with street corner thugs" and said he wants to make respect for others a central piece of Labour's third-term agenda

    Anti-social behaviour

  • On extended drinking hours he said the law-abiding majority should not be penalised because of the misbehaviour of the few

  • But he said he wanted a visible policing presence on the street, police to have the powers they want and to look at further measures to reduce binge drinking, graffiti, vandalism and carrying knives

  • On Bluewater shopping centre's ban on people wearing hooded tops, he said "I would back that up completely"

  • On anti-social behaviour, binge drinking and being drunk and disorderly: "People have got to know they can't get away with it"

  • He also said there were root causes to be tackled, including poor parenting. He said parents should back teachers, not children, if they were reprimanded at school

  • He said he could bring in laws but he could not bring up people's children for them

    Labour leadership

  • Asked whether he still intended to serve another full term, he said he had nothing to add to what was said during the election campaign


  • Mr Blair said his government intended to tighten up the system, with measures such as a points system for work permits, checking foreign students are not "overstaying their welcome"

  • But he said he did not want to put at risk the tolerance of our society or openness of economy.

  • He said it would be unhealthy if it were to be a major issue in a general election again


  • He said he had no intention of abolishing Britain's opt-out of the maximum 48-hour working week.

  • He said Wednesday's vote in the European Parliament was wrong and completely misguided and said that he believed Britain had a blocking minority to prevent the change.

  • Mr Blair said Europe could not afford to give up flexibility on labour laws if it was to face up to competition from emerging markets like China and India.

  • Exactly when there would be a referendum on the EU constitution in the UK had not been decided yet, he said

  • But he said even if the French vote "no" on 29 May, "we will have a referendum on the constitution in any event"

    George Galloway

  • Mr Blair said he had only just looked at media reports

  • He said there were no plans for the government to investigate and did not feel in a position to comment on it because he had not analysed the evidence himself


  • Mr Blair said he wanted to wait for the Turner commission report on pensions, but said he would like to see a political consensus on the issue, as well as council tax and transport funding

  • "All these issues require long term solutions that survive a change in government," he said

    Labour's direction

  • Mr Blair said he wanted Labour to hold the "centre ground" in politics and let the Tories and Lib Dems work out "which way they want to take us"

  • He says the Lib Dems have a choice to make as they will not be able to go after both Tory voters and Labour voters

  • He said the Lib Dems at the moment appeared to have decided to be "the Labour party of the 1980s"

    Reduced majority

  • Asked whether he would be able to push through his reforms with a significantly reduced majority, Mr Blair said voters had shown they wanted to see changes outlined in the manifesto

  • He said in historic terms since the war, the majority he has would be considered a "good majority"


  • Asked what action should be taken if Iran said it was resuming its nuclear activity, Mr Blair said he would "wait and see what happens"

  • But he added: "We certainly will support referral to the UN Security Council if Iran breaches its undertaking and obligations"

    London schools

  • A "step change" was needed in London's schools if voters were to be persuaded that the money they were putting in was delivering value, Mr Blair said

  • He said people should notice change when the City Academy programme was pushed through. Sixty of the new secondary schools, some replacing failing schools, would make a "big difference" to London, he said

  • The prime minister added that he wanted to see middle class parents in London have confidence in the state school system. Currently a much higher percentage of London parents send their children to private schools than outside the city


  • Suicide bomb attacks were "absolutely terrible", said Mr Blair

  • He said ordinary Iraqis were angry because they knew extremists were trying to de-rail the process of democracy in their country. But he added that Iraq was changing, highlighting the appointment of a Sunni defence minister

  • If people could be liberated from both religious and secular dictatorships and democracy was established, the extremists' argument would disintegrate, he said.

  • As a result the UK would be a safer place, he said

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