BBC HOMEPAGE | NEWS | WORLD SERVICE | SPORT | MY BBC low graphics | help
news vote 2001search vote 2001
 You are in: Vote2001
VOTE2001 
Main Issues 
Features 
Crucial Seats 
Key People 
Parties 
Results &  Constituencies 
Opinion Polls 
Online 1000 
Virtual Vote 
Talking Point 
Forum 
AudioVideo 
Programmes 
Voting System 
Local Elections 
Nations 

N Ireland 
Scotland 
Wales 

BBC News

BBC Sport

BBC Weather

 A/V REPORTS
Liberal Democrats leader, Charles Kennedy
"There are too few doctors, nurses and beds"
 real 56k

The BBC's Karen Allen
"Health will be a deciding factor for which way many people vote"
 real 56k

Tuesday, 5 June, 2001, 20:37 GMT 21:37 UK
Don't go naked - Kennedy
A streaker is detained during a speech by Lib Dem leader Charles Kennedy
A streaker is seized during the final Lib Dem rally
Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy has described a vote for the Conservatives as a "wasted vote" - in a final rally speech disrupted by a streaker.

The streaker - with the word "vote" scrawled on his bottom - was hustled away by security men after stripping off his clothes and leaping on to the stage in London.

Mr Kennedy was unfazed.

He told his audience that the incident reminded him of the political saying: "Don't go naked into the conference chamber."

Five key tasks

In the speech itself, Mr Kennedy set out five tasks for his party in opposition.

These were to hold the government to account, to be unified, to offer alternatives, to inspire and to provide a voice for the 'voiceless'.

Lib Dem peer Lady Williams warned that a huge majority for Labour would put democracy at risk - and mean that an "effective opposition" was essential.

She said: "I don't need to be told we are lapdogs of the government.

"For I know we are bulldogs in favour of freedom and democracy."

Party of the NHS

Earlier the Liberal Democrats had said they were the party of the NHS.

Attacking both Labour and the Conservative proposals for health, Mr Kennedy said the first priority should be the recruitment of nurses and doctors.

And the lowest paid NHS professionals, such as nurses and lab technicians, should be given a minimum pay increase of 1,000 a year.

: FAST FACTS
Click the launch button for a new window on the key facts and party policies on this issue.

He blamed the current problems in the health service on Labour's failure sufficiently to increase spending.

Lib Dem leader Charles Kennedy
Lib Dems: "Party of the NHS"

"Labour has failed the NHS and William Hague's Conservative party would kill it off once and for all by making those who could afford it opt out to expensive private provision," he said.

"Everyone knows you can't get something for nothing.

"Improving the NHS can't be done for free - but it is affordable."

Taking questions from journalists, Mr Kennedy predicted some "very quirky results" around the country this Thursday.

Asked if Tory leader William Hague was competent to be prime minister, Mr Kennedy said: "I suspect he is.

"I suspect it is easier to be prime minister than leader of the Tory Party."

 A/V CONSOLE
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS

AUDIO VIDEO

Latest stories

Voting system

TALKING POINT

INTERACT
PARTY WEB LINKS



The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


Related stories:

01 Jun 01 |  Vote2001
GPs ready to quit NHS
25 May 01 |  Vote2001
Parties battle over NHS
©BBC