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Tony Blair, Prime Minister
"We are the first to admit there is more to do"
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David Blunkett, Education Secretary
"We promised to slash infant class sizes and we have done it"
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Saturday, 2 June, 2001, 14:32 GMT 15:32 UK
Blair: Tories 'desperate'
Cherie and Tony Blair
The Blairs are campaigning in Shipley, Yorkshire
Tony Blair has accused the Conservatives of using "desperate" tactics in the run up to polling day.

The prime minister said Tory calls for people not to vote Labour because of fears of a Labour landslide was a "desperate throw of the dice".

Conservative leader William Hague and former prime minister Baroness Thatcher are among a number of senior Tories who have warned about the dangers of a Labour landslide in recent days.

Those warnings have raised fears among the Labour leadership that its core supporters may not bother to turn out to vote on 7 June.

'Crucial days'

Mr Blair has spent the past few days urging voters to turn out on polling day and give him a mandate to spend more on public services.

Addressing party supporters in Shipley, Yorkshire, Mr Blair said the next few days of campaigning were "crucial".

He said the Tories were now driven to say that people should vote Conservative, or not vote at all, not because of the Tory policies but because of the possible size of Labour's majority.

Labour Party pledge card
Up to one million pledge cards will be distributed
"It is the last desperate throw of the dice for the Tories," he said.

Mr Blair urged Labour supporters to take no notice of opinion polls but to make sure they cast their vote next Thursday to give Labour the "strength" to continue investing in public services.

"The next few days will be really important. Come out and support us, give us your strength, so we can make this country genuinely fit for the 21st century."

Mr Blair said he was "delighted" that the central issue of the campaign was now investment in public services and said the choice facing electors could not be clearer.

"The choice is between this government investing in schools and hospitals and a Conservative party that would return to cuts."

The Prime Minister said he became "angry" when he heard people talking about whether it was worth voting or not next week.

Education and Employment Secretary David Blunkett said the party's job was now to persuade voters not to listen to "cynics and sceptics".

Heartlands appeal

Earlier, Mr Blair made a direct appeal to core Labour voters when he pledged to do his best for "hardworking families" if he wins the election.

"We are the first to accept that there is more to do," he said.

"But we also know that we have made a start. That the foundations are in place."

He added: "Don't just give us a mandate for better schools and hospitals but send us an instruction give us our marching orders to make the changes, the improvements, that the people of this country desperately want to see."

Labour Party workers are distributing up to one million pledge cards in towns and cities across Britain on Saturday.

The cards include the party's five pledges, which are to keep mortgages low; to recruit more nurses; more doctors; more police; and to keep the winter fuel payment and increase the minimum wage to 4.20.

Mr Blair said: "Today is pledge day. A day when every Labour candidate takes our crusade for schools and hospitals to every part of the country."

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