Tuesday, October 5, 1999 Published at 12:41 GMT 13:41 UK
Widdecombe blasts 'calamity Jack'
Ann Widdecombe: Abandoned notes for annual conference address
Shadow home secretary Ann Widdecombe has given another display of her conference speaking skills with a carefully-honed attack on "calamity Jack".
But she also used the speech to detail a number of new Tory home affairs policies for the next election.
She promised party members the Conservatives would ensure criminals served the full sentence handed down by the courts.
Following on from Tory leader William Hague's five guarantees to voters, the shadow home secretary sought to offer transparent promises on fighting crime.
Miss Widdecombe told the conference: "I have pledged that by whatever numbers police have fallen by the next election we will reverse that decline completely.
"No smoke, no mirrors - the net decline will be reversed."
She poked fun at the "zero tolerance" approach to policing adopted by the home secretary and the prime minister, which has included introducing curfew orders for young offenders.
"There hasn't been a single curfew order - that's what they mean by zero," she said.
"In other words, the much-vaunted policies by this government have been spectacular flops."
She said amnesties allowing refugees to stay in the country and abolishing the safe countries initiative, under which asylum-seekers from some countries were treated less leniently than others, had caused this.
"There will be no more amnesties because every time there is an amnesty people come here in the hope of benefiting from the next one," she said.
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