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Conservative party leader William Hague
addresses voters in Winchester
 real 56k

The BBC's Laura Trevelyan
follows William Hague back to his home constituency of Richmond
 real 56k

Wednesday, 6 June, 2001, 12:25 GMT 13:25 UK
Tories march on - Hague
Ffion and William Hague breakfast at Smithfield Market in London on Wednesday
Breakfast before battle: William Hague
The "forces of conservatism" will march on Thursday and back his party, William Hague has declared in his last major Tory campaign speech.

Because of Mr Blair's plans, this could be the last general election in Britain when we can still run our own affairs

William Hague
The Tory leader accused Tony Blair of a huge misjudgement in using the phrase in his attack on the Tories in his 1999 Labour Party conference speech.

He told an audience of party supporters at the London Television Studios on Wednesday: "Tomorrow the world will find out that the forces of conservatism are on the march.

"I have met them by the thousand in this campaign."

Forces of conservatism

Those people included farmers hit by a foot-and-mouth crisis made worse by the government, business crippled by Labour taxes and public servants weighed down by red tape, said Mr Hague.

And building on his Save the Pound campaign theme, the Tory leader gave a stark warning about Tony Blair's intentions for Britain's relationship with the rest of Europe.

"Because of Mr Blair's plans to scrap the pound and surrender to Brussels, this could be the last general election in Britain when we can still run our own affairs," he continued.

Campaign pride

Hitting crime hard, providing discipline, standards and choice in schools and bringing taxes down were the other major policies highlighted by Mr Hague.

He accused Labour of using "weasel words" to "duck and weave" questions about its tax and spending plans.

Mr Hague said he was proud of his campaign and the way the Tories had fought the election.

Michael Portillo
Portillo: Attracted to Labour as young man
"Issue by issue in this election we have made and won our case," he argued.

"We have put forward answers that Labour has been unable to question and raised questions that they have been unable to answer."

In an impassioned plea, he added: "Vote Conservative and on Friday we will begin the work of making this nation once again the equal of the people who live in it.

"Vote Conservative tomorrow and Britain will again be a place we can be proud to call our home."

Trusting people

Before Mr Hague's speech, several shadow cabinet members mapped out their own personal creeds and why they had become involved in politics.

We are a party committed to reform, committed to change, committed to trusting people

Michael Portillo
Shadow chancellor Michael Portillo said he had been attracted to the Labour Party as a young man but had realised that the smaller state worked.

"We are a party committed to reform, committed to change, committed to trusting people," he said.

Shadow chancellor Ann Widdecombe said public sector workers were being obstructed from doing their jobs by too much state interference.

Obstacle course

"They should not find their careers are turned into an obstacle course by politicians," she said.

The UK's sense of nationhood was the focus of the Tory perspective offered by shadow foreign secretary Francis Maude.

He promised to fight against the sense that it was inevitable that Britain would lose its power of self-government and become only a "province of a united states of Europe".

Party Chairman Michael Ancram argued the Tory party was a broad church and spoke of Conservatives' love of their country and sense of public service.


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