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The BBC's Andrew Marr
"Until now, Hague seems entirely self-confident - either that, or he is a much better actor than Blair"
 real 56k

Thursday, 31 May, 2001, 23:10 GMT 00:10 UK
Hague warning on landslide

Hague: Still confident but warns of Labour "arrogance"
Conservative leader William Hague has given a warning that a second Labour general election landslide would be "extremely dangerous" for Britain.


Obviously we are working on making sure that there's no landslide - that there is a Conservative majority in the House of Commons

William Hague

He was speaking as Prime Minister Tony Blair called on voters to give Labour its "marching orders" to make Britain a better place.

Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy meanwhile accused the prime minister of forgetting the principles that propelled him to power.

The latest exchanges came after the party leaders had spent much of the day at the seaside - arguing over who would do most for families.

'Arrogant attitude'

William Hague, in a BBC interview, accused Labour of "sidelining" Parliament.

blair
Blair's hair gets a makeover at the seaside

"What we've seen in the last four years, when there was a Labour landslide at the last election, is an extraordinarily arrogant attitude to Parliament - to democracy," he said.

"The House of Commons has been denigrated and sidelined."

And Mr Hague added: "It would be extremely dangerous for this country for a repetition of that majority."

But Mr Hague made it clear the Tories were not expecting a Labour win.

"Obviously we are working on making sure that there's no landslide, that there is a Conservative majority in the House of Commons," he said.

'Vital to vote'

The prime minister, speaking at a rally at Croydon, South London, said it was vital that people did vote next week - so that Labour could continue its programme of investment in schools, hospitals and the other public services.

Mr Blair said a Tory government would unwind the progress of the past few years by cutting investment in public services.

He appealed to his audience: "This election matters to our country, it matters to the wider world, and I ask you, all of you, and through you the British people, give us your support, give us our marching orders for changing this country for the better, for putting our schools and hospitals first."

'Fed up'

For the Lib Dems, Charles Kennedy, speaking at a rally in Southport, made a strong attack on Labour.

"New Labour has forgotten why it wanted power in the first place," he said.

Mr Kennedy said the Liberal Democrats would now be the only viable opposition to a re-elected Labour government.


New Labour has forgotten why it wanted power in the first place

Charles Kennedy

He suggested there was little to choose between Labour and the Tories.

"I put it to you that the reds and blues have never looked so grey," he said.

"Our citizens are still shackled by the lack of provision of the most basic of services and the hopeless lack of leadership," he said.

"And like people up and down the country, I'm fed up with being fed up."

Family friendly

Earlier, the party leaders had spent much of Thursday battling over who would do most for families.

The Tories made the early running with a claim that Labour would leave a million families worse off by taxing or means-testing child benefit.

But Chancellor Gordon Brown rejected the charge and said the Tories had scored a "spectacular own goal" by allowing Labour to demonstrate how much it had done for families.

The Liberal Democrats campaigned on their plans for pensioners and said they were the only viable alternative to Labour.

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