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Margaret Beckett, Labour spokeswoman
"The only poll that matters is on June 7"
 real 56k

Sunday, 3 June, 2001, 18:00 GMT 19:00 UK
Blair attacks 'sneaky' Tories
Prime Minister Tony Blair
Mr Blair will take to the battlebus on Sunday
Tony Blair has accused the Conservatives of trying to sneak into power by the back door.

The prime minister accused the Tories of running out of ideas and resorting to encouraging people not to vote on Thursday.


The Conservative strategy now is to sneak in through the back door

Tony Blair
Senior Conservatives have warned about the dangers of a Labour landslide and on Sunday the party launched a poster campaign urging voters to burst Mr Blair's "bubble".

Tory leader William Hague has warned that a large Labour majority would lead to arrogant and undemocratic government.

Core appeal

But Mr Blair hit back saying the Tory campaign showed the party was unelectable and was "an admission of failure".

Addressing a Labour youth rally in Watford, Hertfordshire, Mr Blair urged people to vote on 7 June.

"Elections really matter and this election really matters because of the fundamental choices being put before the British people. Does the country go forward or back?

"The Conservative Party campaign is no longer just a shambles, it is a total admission of political failure, an admission that it cannot win arguments.

"It is a calculated attempt either to stop people voting at all, or to ask them to vote Conservative not for any positive reason, but simply to sneak in by the back door."

Mr Blair repeated the line that voters face a "clear choice" between increased spending on public services under Labour or Tory cuts.

"There are massive choices at this election. In the few days left, we have to go out and fight for what we believe in, put our case with conviction, show them we can make a difference."

Labour spent the final weekend of the election campaign pressing home its message that it is the only party to improve public services.

Mr Blair and senior ministers toured television and radio stations to press home their message.

Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott and Chancellor Gordon Brown made a direct appeal to core Labour voters with speeches at union conferences.

On message

"Give us your mandate to carry on the policies you want and not fall for this latest Conservative ploy."

Home Secretary Jack Straw used a speech near his Blackburn constituency to tell voters the Conservatives posed a serious threat to public services.

Education and health are expected to dominate the Labour agenda until the close of the election campaign.

Mr Brown will bring Labour's message to core supporters when he addresses the GMB union conference, in Brighton, on Sunday afternoon.

Margaret Beckett told viewers of BBC TV's Breakfast with Frost programme that the party was taking nothing for granted.

"The only poll that matters is the one on 7 June, or when people give their postal votes, that's what will determine the result," she said.

"People encourage this notion that Labour is going to have a landslide so let's make sure it's not too big, let's try to teach them a lesson."

She said talk of a landslide was "designed" by the Conservatives to ensure they got a greater share of the vote.

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