Blair delivers final speech to Welsh Labour

Blair addresses Welsh Labour
Blair addresses Welsh Labour

Tony Blair today delivered his final speech as prime minister to the Welsh Labour party's annual conference in Llandudno.

Speaking ahead of the Welsh Assembly elections in May, Mr Blair urged the Welsh to return Rhodri Morgan to the assembly, claiming "only Labour can represent the whole of Wales; north, south, east and west."

He told Labour delegates that they should be "incredibly proud" of what has been achieved, concluding "Labour is working here in Wales today".

In an "incredible achievement", unemployment in Wales is now below the UK average, Mr Blair said, also citing successes in education, homelessness and crime.

"Contrast our record with 18 years of Tory misrule and you will see why it is so important to return Rhodri and Welsh Labour to government on the May 3rd", the prime minister told supporters.

Mr Blair used his speech to attack the Conservative's policies, both in Wales and across the UK.

Accusing the David Cameron of lacking firm policies, the Labour leader said: "There is only one thing you need to know about the Tories, that underneath whatever posturing, whenever it comes to a vital decision where the interests of the few conflict with the interests of the many, they put the interests of the few first and the interests of the many last."

Labour has proven themselves fit to run the economy, Mr Blair maintained, in what he described as the "single most important change in British politics in the past few decades".

Mr Blair told delegates that social and economic policies are now entwined, claiming that unemployment and low attainment is "wasting part of the nation's future as well as part of an individual's life opportunities."

"Today social justice and economic prosperity go hand in hand. That is the big change that has happened in British politics in the past few years," he said.

Playing down the internal divides in the party, Mr Blair said: "When you strip away the rhetoric, what is left is something that unites every single part of the Labour party; and it is a belief that we are right people to handle the future of the modern world."

Leading the party into a "confident and upbeat" election campaign, he closed by urging supporters to be proud of what Labour had achieved in Wales, claiming few of its successes would have seemed imaginable in 1997.

Ahead of today's opening speech, Welsh Labour unveiled a £1 billion package aimed at attracting votes on May 3rd.


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