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Last Updated: Friday, 27 February, 2004, 18:58 GMT
Blair attacks follow speech
Tony Blair
Attacks on the PM followed his criticism of the Tories
A 'pathetic diversionary tactic' and a 'phoney war' were comments made by opposition parties after Tony Blair's speech to Labour delegates in Scotland.

The prime minister told the Scottish Labour Party conference that the UK was much better off under a Labour government than a Conservative one.

The Tories accused Mr Blair of diverting attention away from the "failures of his own party".

The Scottish National Party said he was "hiding his own right-wing policies".

Tory co-chairman Liam Fox said the government had failed to cut red tape within the public services, and was trying to avoid the issue by focusing on the Tories.

It was a dull and tired performance from a dull and tired Prime Minister
Peter Duncan
Tory MP
He said: "It is now clear just how much trouble Mr Blair is in.

"This is nothing more than a pathetic diversionary tactic.

"Gordon Brown and his colleagues repeatedly refuse to debate these issues maturely. Mr Blair is obviously reading from the same script.

"The Chancellor was rightly ridiculed for attempting to argue that reducing the rate of growth of public spending to avoid tax rises is an extremist measure. Tony Blair will be treated the same way.

"The Government's own efficiency adviser has already said there is massive wastage in public spending."

Mr Fox went on: "The Prime Minister should tell the British people how he intends to tackle this, instead of attacking us over things we have not said.

SNP leader John Swinney said "Tony Blair is the architect of policies that are so right-wing that even Margaret Thatcher shied away from them.

"He has abandoned the principle of free education by introducing top-up fees and undermined the NHS with foundation hospitals.

'Spin, distortion and lies'

"Now, he is desperately trying to differentiate himself from the Conservatives by launching a phoney war.

"He hopes that by attacking the Tories, people will forget how right-wing he is.

"The reality is that people can't tell the two apart."

Tory Peter Duncan added: "His speech was full of all the usual spin, distortion and lies, but still failed to hit the mark or inspire.

"It was a dull and tired performance from a dull and tired Prime Minister.

"He spoke about record investments in health and education, but dared not talk about the record high in waiting lists, waiting times, levels of illiteracy or violent crime.

"And his vulnerability as Labour leader shone through in his final appeal for unity and faith."

The Tory MP for Galloway and Upper Nithsdale added: "It was a speech that fooled no one."


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