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Last Updated: Saturday, 3 September 2005, 15:27 GMT 16:27 UK
Blair hears gang violence fears
Tony Blair
The prime minister visited a community centre in Easterhouse
Prime Minister Tony Blair heard residents' fears about gang violence on a visit to a Glasgow housing estate.

He was joined by First Minister Jack McConnell as he talked to people at a community centre in Easterhouse.

One woman complained that the police presence seen for Mr Blair's visit was not repeated when violence broke out in the area.

The prime minister also used the trip to dismiss claims that he and the first minister were barely on speaking terms.

Newspaper reports suggested that Mr McConnell felt the prime minister ignored Scotland.

Respect drive

However, Mr Blair said: "Jack is a fantastic guy. He has always been a good friend of mine.

"I think you know as well as me, what's in the press isn't always absolutely accurate."

The visit to Easterhouse was part of his drive to bring respect back to Britain's streets.

Jack McConnell and Tony Blair with local youngsters
Tony Blair said he and Jack McConnell were good friends

Local resident Irene Blackwood, 51, said: "I asked him why there was so many police down here today to cover what I put politely as his backside, and we can't get all of that when the gang fighting goes on down here.

"He didn't say anything. He was mainly listening, I think."

Jackie Clements, 51, said: "I told him there's fighting here every night and you're lucky if police get here within an hour, if at all."

However, charity worker Liz Reid, 46, said she wanted to see more of a focus on the positive aspect of young people's contribution to society.

"Young people get a bad press nowadays and seem to be demonised with all these stories about antisocial behaviour," she said.



SEE ALSO:
Blair calls for better parenting
02 Sep 05 |  UK Politics
Setting the school respect agenda
22 Jul 05 |  Education
Councils told to hit yob culture
02 Jun 05 |  Scotland


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