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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 December 2005, 11:47 GMT
Geldof helps Tory poverty policy
Bob Geldof
Bob Geldof organised the Live 8 concerts in the summer
Anti-poverty campaigner and musician Bob Geldof is to become a consultant to a new Conservative party policy group on global poverty.

Mr Geldof, who has played a leading role in the Make Poverty History campaign, said he would not become politically "partisan".

He told BBC News 24: "I don't care who I have to go to to try to make this agenda work."

Tory leader David Cameron said he was "thrilled" at the development.

Be of benefit'

Mr Geldof said he had spoken to Downing Street about the plan.

He added: "If I can be of benefit to help set other parties' policies then I will do it."

Mr Cameron launched the party's Globalisation and Global Poverty group, to be chaired by former social security secretary Peter Lilley, this week.

BBC political correspondent Gary O'Donoghue said although the non-partisan nature of Mr Geldof's involvement was being stressed, it was nevertheless "quite a coup" to get him involved.

David Cameron
David Cameron looks to "a new generation of concerned citizens"

Mr Cameron said the former Boomtown Rats frontman would help the party "go in the direction that he and we both want to go".

He said: "This summer, millions of British people took part in the Make Poverty History campaign.

"A new generation of concerned citizens want prosperity for themselves and progress for the poor, whether living on the other side of the street or the other side of the world."

Conservatives have a "vital contribution" to make to the debate about globalisation and poverty, he added.

"Our policy group will develop ideas to enable the economic empowerment of the poorest people on our planet - for example through property rights and other institutions to promote economic development and wealth creation."

Mr Lilley told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that Mr Geldof had "enormous knowledge and expertise. He's been working on this area for 20 years.

Bob Geldof in The Boomtown Rats

"He knows more people, he's got access to more expertise than almost anybody else in the world and that's why I'm thrilled to have him as an advisor to the group".

But International Development Secretary Hilary Benn, responded to the Conservatives' announcement by saying that "actions speak louder than words".

He added: "Britain has agreed to spend 0.7% of its gross national income on aid by 2013.

"This is an internationally agreed target and Labour is the first government in British history to commit to this."

The poverty group is the third of six policy groups to be announced by Mr Cameron as he tries to position the party to attract more women and younger voters, added our correspondent.

Earlier this month he signed up environmentalist Zac Goldsmith as joint chairman of a group set up to formulate green policies.

He has also made former party leader Iain Duncan Smith chairman of a policy unit looking at social justice.

Hear about the Conservative's poverty policy

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24 Nov 05 |  Entertainment
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