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Last Updated: Tuesday, 18 September 2007, 12:59 GMT 13:59 UK
Harman to rally Labour delegates
Harriet Harman
Ms Harman: Labour chairwoman, deputy leader, Commons leader and equalities secretary
Harriet Harman is set to close this year's Labour Party conference in the coveted speaking spot traditionally held by her predecessor John Prescott.

During his 12 years as deputy leader Mr Prescott enjoyed sending delegates back home with a tub-thumping speech.

Now after some debate, Labour's ruling National Executive Committee says Ms Harman will have the same honour.

The NEC also agreed a package of reforms that will water down union power at Labour's conference.

'Major concession'

Gordon Brown's plans to scrap the "contemporary resolutions" often used by the unions to inflict policy defeats on the party leadership were accepted by 23 votes to four.

From 2008, this will no longer be possible, but the unions received a major concession in that the process will be reviewed after two years.

This year's Labour conference will be held in Bournemouth, and Ms Harman is expected to take to the stage to rally delegates on Thursday lunchtime.

There have been suggestions that Ms Harman will be one of the few ministers allowed to deliver a lengthy speech. It has been reported that most have been told to speak for no more than seven minutes.

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