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BBC News' Robin Oakley
"Mr Blair and his ministers have been careful not to make this a day of ceremony and celebration"
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The BBC's Nick Clarke reports
Blair's 1,000 days in power
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BBC News' Mark Mardell
"What do the 1,000 days feel like?"
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Michael Ancram MP, Conservative Party Chairman
"This government makes a lot of brave promises and does not deliver"
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Minister of State Lord Falconer
We aim to reform Britain to improve the quality of life
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Wednesday, 26 January, 2000, 23:43 GMT
Labour marks 1,000 days

Something to cheer? Tony Blair takes office in 1997

The Labour Party is celebrating its 1,000 days in power with a promise to see through reforms - but an admission that it still has progress to make, including modernising the NHS.

While Prime Minister Tony Blair said that he had no plans to celebrate the date, the party published a dossier setting out what it said were its achievements since Labour's landslide General Election victory in 1997.

Countering the document, the Conservatives produced an "audit" of Labour's "failures, lies, sleaze and hypocrisy".

But delivering a party speech to mark the occasion, Education Secretary David Blunkett called on the public to judge the government over the lifetime of the parliament - and not on the rough ride it had suffered in the previous fortnight.

Manifesto pledges: "Being met, but more to do"
He also attacked the national media for focusing on minor problems while it failed to engage in a debate on shaping the future of the UK.

"Harold Wilson once said that a week is a long time in politics," Mr Blunkett told an audience of British and German business leaders.

"One thousand days have just passed and for some sections of the media it's being regarded as a millennium.

"We are being held to task already. We have the challenge to ensure that we deliver. But will do so with leadership and vision for the future."

'Laying foundations'

Appealing directly to voters to look at the wider picture, Mr Blunkett said that Labour was laying the foundations for a more flexible economy and a society that would provide people with the right skills for the UK's prosperity.

Turning to the record of Lady Thatcher and the first 1,000 days of her Conservative government, Mr Blunkett said Labour had achieved far more.

If government was easy any fool could do it.
David Blunkett
Where interest rates had stood at 14.5% in 1982, they now stood 5.75%, said Mr Blunkett. Inflation was now currently running at 2.2% compared to 12% under Lady Thatcher and Labour's policies were responsible for the country's falling levels of unemployment.

But he added: "Of course there is a lot still to do. Even New Labour Cabinet ministers are mortal and fallible. But we have aspirations and expectations for the world of tomorrow.

"We need to be critical of ourselves and our government when we get things wrong," he stressed.

"But we also need to pat ourselves on the back when we get things right."

"1,000 days of failure"

Attacking the government, Conservative leader William Hague said that Labour's botched policies had created crisis in the NHS.

William Hague: Denied chance in the Commons
Reworking the party's famous 1979 electoral campaign slogan, "Labour isn't working", the party unveiled a poster of patients queuing under the words: "Britain's Still Waiting".

"The government has not succeeded even in the changes that it set out to achieve," said Mr Hague.

"One of their central promises was on the health service and Britain is still waiting. It's been a 1,000 days and many, many failures."

Later in the day Mr Hague criticised the government for failing to use its parliamentary powers to end a marathon House of Commons debate - started by Tory MPs - which prompted the cancellation of Prime Minister's Questions, Mr Hague's best chance of the day to attack Mr Blair.

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25 Jan 00 |  UK Politics
Blair's 1,000 days

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