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Last Updated: Sunday, 23 September 2007, 22:00 GMT 23:00 UK
Brown looks to next election
By Nick Assinder
Political correspondent, BBC News website

Gordon Brown
Mr Brown is not expected to announce election date
Gordon Brown is to use his first party conference speech as prime minister to set out his vision for leading his party to a fourth election victory.

Despite continuing speculation about a possible snap election, Mr Brown is not expected to reveal his plans at the Bournemouth conference.

Instead, he is focusing on the big challenges ahead, particularly the NHS and public services.

He has said much was achieved under Tony Blair but more change is needed.

He is expected to echo the words he used in a letter to the party's ruling executive, that called on the conference "to set ambitious long-term goals and then stay the course to meet the challenges of the decade ahead".

Public services

The prime minister is known to be under pressure from some ministers and advisers to call an autumn poll to capitalise on his continuing popularity.

He has so far refused to clarify his intentions, although he has signalled he is not planning to make any announcement during the conference week.

His big speech on Monday will see him mapping out some of the challenges he believes Britain now faces.

Tony Blair
Labour conference will mark end of Blair era
They include boosting public services to tailor them more to individuals' needs, maintaining a strong economy in the era of globalisation and enhancing both national and local community security.

He will also highlight the environment and climate change as one of the biggest issues facing the world and talk about the need to support parents in the task of bringing up their children.

Look forward

In his letter to the party's national executive committee, which set out his vision for the coming decade, he said much had been achieved under the previous prime minister, Tony Blair.

"But these changes are just the start. I know that we must go much further, be bolder and more confident if we are to unleash the talents of all and make Britain the place it can be.

"To do this we need to look forward to the new challenges of the future that will influence the lives of families and communities up and down the country."

The prime minister is certain to receive a hero's welcome from delegates in Bournemouth many of whom see the event as marking the end of the Blair decade and the beginning of a new, revitalised administration.

Many believe that Mr Brown needs time to set out his distinctive manifesto before he goes to the country and, as a result, should not rush into an early election.

But, whatever he says in his speech, most seem to agree that Labour is now on an election footing.

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