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 A/V REPORTS
The BBC's Gavin Hewitt
"This is celebrity and politics feeding off each other"
 real 56k

Shadow Home Secretary, Ann Widdecombe
"Geri Haliwell deserted the Spice girls, and they still came top of the pops"
 real 56k

The BBC's Paul Rowley
looks back at the history of the party political theme song
 real 28k

Monday, 14 May, 2001, 17:26 GMT
Tories dismiss Geri's Labour role
Labour's election broadcast
Geri says the Blairs are role models
The Conservatives have played down the role of former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell - who once described Margaret Thatcher as the first Spice Girl - in Labour's election campaign.

The singer has a part in Labour's first election broadcast on Monday.

But shadow home secretary Ann Widdecombe said that Halliwell's switch to Labour would not make any difference.

Ann Widdecombe
Widdecombe: Geri "is no threat"
"Geri Halliwell deserted the Spice Girls, and they still came top of the pops," she said.

She also said that Geri's fans will not be easily led, saying: "I think they can think on serious matters."

The singer will be seen serving tea to pensioners to the tune of the party's campaign song Lifted, by the Lighthouse Family.

Test cricket umpire Dickie Bird and paralympic gold medallist Tanni Grey-Thompson will also feature in the film, called The Work Goes On.

It lists what Labour says it has achieved since coming to power, over images of nurses, families and depictions of life in Britain.

The singer said: "A lot of people knock Britain but I have to say I'm proud of this country, and the opportunities it offers people."
Geri Halliwell
Geri serves up tea for pensioners

"Cherie and I have worked together for Breast Cancer Care and I think she's also fantastic, a great role model."

She said she had agreed to do the broadcast because of the good example set by Mr Blair and his wife as parents.

A Labour Party spokesman denied that the election broadcast would be seen as smug because it focused on Labour's achievements.

Different versions have been made for England, Scotland and Wales.

Conservative leader William Hague said he was not worried about Labour's recruitment of Haliwell.

"You wait for our broadcast and you will see it is about what is really going on in the world," he told journalists in Cardiff, where he was launching the Tory manifesto for Wales.

The Labour broadcast will be transmitted on Monday at 1825 BST on ITV, at 1855 BST on BBC1 and at 1955 BST on both Channel 4 and Channel 5.

A radio version will also go out.

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