Page last updated at 13:34 GMT, Saturday, 7 March 2009

Party told to prepare for battle

Harriet Harma addressing the Scottish Labour party, addresses the Scottish Labour Party conference
Harriet Harman addressed delegates at the Scottish Labour Party conference

Harriet Harman has issued a rallying call to party members, urging them to treat the Euro elections as a "dress rehearsal" for the next UK election.

The deputy labour leader urged delegates at the Scottish Labour conference in Dundee to make every vote count in the run-up to the June 4 poll.

Ms Harman also condemned the "greed and excess" of the banking bonus system.

And she invited Harry Potter author JK Rowling to speak at a future Labour conference.

Ms Harman said the global economic crisis was "hitting every country round the world like a hurricane", and pledged the UK Government would learn lessons and take action to help.

She argued: "Everyone can see now Labour's values, the government stepping in to take action to make the downturn as short and as shallow as possible, helping those who need it most and our values of fairness as we condemn and take action against the greed and excess of the bank bonuses."

'Beacon for Scotland'

Ms Harman's comments, on day two of the conference, came after Prime Minister Gordon Brown called for an end to the banking bonus culture when he addressed delegates on Friday.

The deputy labour leader went on to say she would invite Rowling, who last year donated 1m to Labour, to deliver a key note speech to this year's Labour conference or the next Scottish party conference.

The best-selling author previously said her contribution was motivated by the party's record on child poverty.

Rowling, who came up with the idea for the adventures of boy wizard Harry Potter while living in Edinburgh as a struggling single mother, now has a fortune estimated at 560m, according to the Sunday Times Rich List.

Ms Harman said of the writer: "She's a beacon for Scotland, she's a beacon for women, she's a beacon for lone parents, she speaks up on social justice."

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