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Last Updated: Tuesday, 26 September 2006, 15:58 GMT 16:58 UK
Blair speech: Key quotes
Tony Blair giving his last speech to the Labour Party conference

Here are the key quotes from Tony Blair's last speech to the Labour conference in Manchester as prime minister and party leader:

CHERIE JOKE

"At least I don't have to worry about her running off with the bloke next door."

STEPPING DOWN

"The truth is you can't go on forever. That's why it is right that this is my last conference as leader. Of course it is hard to let go. But it is also right to let go - for the country and for you, the party.

"Over the coming months, I will take through the changes I have worked on so hard these past years.

"And I will help build a unified party with a strong platform for the only legacy that has ever mattered to me - a fourth term election victory that allows us to keep changing Britain for the better.

"And I want to heal. There has been a lot of talk of lies and truths these past few weeks.

"In no relationship at the top of any walk of life is it always easy, least of all in politics, which matters so much and which is conducted in such a piercing spotlight."

GORDON BROWN

"I know New Labour would never have happened and three election victories would never have been secured without Gordon Brown.

"He is a remarkable man - a remarkable servant to this country - and that is the truth.

"So now, 10 years on, this party faces the real test of leadership - not about what we've achieved in the past but what we can achieve for Britain's future."

NEXT ELECTION

"The next election won't be about image unless we let it be. It'll be about who has the strength, judgment, weight and ideas for Britain's future in an uncertain world.

"And if we show belief in ourselves, the British people will feel that belief and be given confidence. I don't want to be the Labour leader who won three successive elections.

"I want to be the first Labour leader to win three successive elections. So it's up to you.

"You take my advice. You don't take it. Your choice.

"Whatever you do, I'm always with you. Head and heart.

"You've given me all I have ever achieved, and all that we've achieved, together, for the country.

"Next year I won't be making this speech.

"But in the years to come, wherever I am, whatever I do, I'm with you. Wishing you well. Wanting you to win.

"You're the future now. Make the most of it."

IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN

"If we retreat now, hand Iraq over to al-Qaeda and sectarian death squads and Afghanistan back to al-Qaeda and the Taliban, we won't be safer; we will be committing a craven act of surrender that will put our future security in the deepest peril.

"Of course it's tough. Not a day goes by or an hour in the day when I don't reflect on our troops with admiration and thanks - the finest, the best, the bravest any nation could hope for.

"They are not fighting in vain. But for this nation's future. But this is not a conventional war. It can't be won by force alone.

"It's not a clash of civilisations. It's about civilisation, about the ideas that shape it."

MIDDLE EAST

"From 9/11 until now I have said again and again if we want our values to be the ones that govern global change, we have to show that they are fair, just and delivered with an even hand.

"From now until I leave office I will dedicate myself, with the same commitment I have given to Northern Ireland, to advancing peace between Israel and Palestine. I may not succeed. But I will try because peace in the Middle East is a defeat for terrorism.

"We must never again let Lebanon become the background for a conflict that neither Israeli or Lebanese people wanted though it was they who paid the price for it."

TERRORISM

"This is a struggle that will last a generation and more. But this I believe passionately: we will not win until we shake ourselves free of the wretched capitulation to the propaganda of the enemy, that somehow we are the ones responsible.

"This terrorism isn't our fault. We didn't cause it. It's not the consequence of foreign policy. It's an attack on our way of life.

"This is not our war against Islam. This is a war fought by extremists who pervert the true faith of Islam. And all of us, Western and Arab, Christian or Muslim, who put the value of tolerance, respect and peaceful co-existence above those of sectarian hatred, should join together to defeat them."

DAVID CAMERON

"There's no rule that says the Tories have got to come back. David Cameron's Tories? My advice: get after them.

"His foreign policy. Pander to anti-Americanism by stepping back from America. Pander to the eurosceptics through isolation in Europe. Sacrificing British influence for party expediency is not a policy worthy of a Prime Minister.

"Built to last? They haven't even laid the foundation stone. If we can't take this lot apart in the next few years we shouldn't be in the business of politics at all."

AMERICA & EUROPE

"It's hard sometimes to be America's strongest ally. Yes, Europe can be a political headache for a proud sovereign nation like Britain.

"But believe me there are no half-hearted allies of America today and no semi-detached partners in Europe. And the truth is that nothing we strive for, from the world trade talks to global warming, to terrorism and Palestine can be solved without America, or without Europe.

"At the moment I know people only see the price of these alliances. Give them up and the cost in terms of power, weight and influence for Britain would be infinitely greater. Distance this country and you may find it's a long way back."

ENVIRONMENT

"We need therefore the most radical overhaul of energy policy since the War.

"We will increase the amount of energy from renewable sources fivefold; ensure every major business in the country has a responsibility for greenhouse gas reduction; treble investment in green technology, including clean coal; and make sure every new home is at least 40% more energy efficient.

"We will meet our Kyoto targets by double the amount and we will take the necessary measures, step by step by step, to meet one of the most ambitious targets on the environment set anywhere in the world - a 60% reduction in emissions by 2050."

ID CARDS

"I don't want to live in a police state or a Big Brother society or put any of our essential freedoms in jeopardy. But because our idea of liberty is not keeping pace with change in reality, those freedoms are in jeopardy.

"We can only protect liberty by making it relevant to the modern world.

"That is why identity cards using biometric technology are not a breach of our basic rights, they are an essential part of responding to the reality of modern migration and protecting us against identity fraud."

"In the next parliamentary session, the centrepiece will be John Reid's immigration and law and order reforms. I ask people of all parties to support them. Let liberty stand up for the law-abiding."

WELFARE REFORM

"In the future, as people live longer, we can't afford good pensions and help for disabled people who can't work, with four million people on benefit many of whom could work. Almost a million less than there were. But too many.

"That is why we need more radical welfare reform, getting more disabled people, more lone parents, more on unemployment benefit into work, not to destroy the welfare state but to preserve it."

VALEDICTORY THANK YOUS

"Thank you to you, our party, our members, our supporters, the people who week in, week out do the work, take the flak and don't often get the credit.

"Thank you the Labour Party for giving me the extraordinary privilege of leading you these past 12 years.

"I know I look a lot older. That's what being leader of the Labour Party does to you. Actually, looking around some of you look a lot older. That's what having me as leader of the Labour Party does to you.

"Something I don't say often enough - thank you to my family.

"But above all else, I want to thank the British people - not just for the honour of being Prime Minister but for the journey of progress we have travelled together."




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