Page last updated at 15:49 GMT, Saturday, 27 February 2010

Brown's Welsh Labour conference attack on Tory cuts

Gordon Brown on Tory cuts

Gordon Brown has tried to rally support at the Welsh Labour conference ahead of the coming general election by defending his economic record.

The prime minister attacked Tory plans to cut spending and said their biggest claim to being the "party of change" was they kept changing their mind.

He also made a light-hearted reference to recent allegations of bullying.

He joked that the only thing he had not yet been accused of was killing Archie Mitchell in the BBC's EastEnders.

Mr Brown told delegates in Swansea that it had been "a very strange old week with accusations flying back and forth".

Gordon Brown greets delegates as he and his wife Sarah arrive at the Welsh Labour conference
How they can claim to be the party of change when these policies - defending the Lords, backing fox hunting, inheritance tax cuts - are not exactly new policies but the very policies that have defined the Conservative Party for more than 100 years?
Gordon Brown on Tory slogan Vote For Change

To laughter after his comment on the EastEnders murder mystery, he said: "And for the press here, I promise you, I didn't even lay a finger on him".

Mr Brown said: "So it's really nice for Sarah and me to be back with old friends today and of course you know that great definition of a true friend - someone who knows all about you but likes you anyway.

"And I think you do know me. I know that I will always focus on the big questions and I hope you'll know that I will always focus on what matters."

Mr Brown told activists "we can, we must and we will" win the election.

He defended the government's record on spending, saying it had made the right decision to take control of failing banks and to nationalise Northern Rock, and he focused on Labour's commitment to protect workers.

'Fight of its life'

He accused Conservatives of planning cuts in which the jobs, businesses and homes of thousands of people would be the direct victims.

The prime minister also tried to undermine the Tory election campaign slogan of Vote For Change.

"After their slogan was announced today, I really think we ought to ask them: how they can claim to be the party of change when these policies - defending the Lords, backing fox hunting, inheritance tax cuts - are not exactly new policies but the very policies that have defined the Conservative Party for more than 100 years?"

Carwyn Jones
In 2010 there's only one way to stay Labour - and that's to get out and vote Labour... because this time no-one is going to do it for you
First Minister Carwyn Jones

Mr Brown spoke after Wales' First Minister Carwyn Jones warned that the party faces the "fight of its life" in the forthcoming general election.

Mr Jones told delegates Labour supporters who want to keep Tories out had lost the "luxury" of staying at home on polling day.

In Mr Jones' first speech to a Welsh Labour conference since he replaced Rhodri Morgan as leader last year, he paid tribute to his predecessor at the Brangwyn Hall.

He told supporters that in recent years they "could have a Labour government without even having to vote it".

"Well comrades, that's a luxury that Labour supporters just don't have this time.

"In 2010 there's only one way to stay Labour - and that's to get out and vote Labour. Because this time no-one is going to do it for you."

He added: "Let us be under no illusion here today - we are in for the fight of our political lives."

'Dogma-driven Tories'

Mr Jones attacked the "dogma-driven" Tories' stance on the economy and took a swipe at David Cameron's public school background.

In a nod towards impending constraints on public spending, Mr Jones called for more efficient ways of running public services to avoid cutting jobs.

Mr Jones urged voters not to jeopardise Labour's achievements by letting the Conservatives return to power.

He told delegates: "We need to enlarge the private sector in Wales, and we need to do it quickly in order to provide more and better jobs for our people.

"The trick for Wales in the future is to grow our private sector, to nurture our innate entrepreneurial flair and innovation, to unleash a side of Welshness that has been repressed and understated for far too long."



SEE ALSO
Growth encouraging, says Darling
26 Feb 10 |  UK Politics
Tories reveal six election themes
27 Feb 10 |  UK Politics
Labour's 'big choice' conference
26 Feb 10 |  Wales politics
Labour has to listen, says Jones
02 Dec 09 |  Wales

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