Blair is Mr 93%

PARTY POLL SAYS LABOUR LEADER IS THE MOST POPULAR DEMOCRATIC POLITICIAN IN HISTORY

Tony Blair's popularity rating has reached 93 per cent in the wake of Princess Diana's death, according to a private Labour Party poll.

The unprecedentedly high figure - thought to be a record for any democratic politician - will set the seal on what promises to be a euphoric Labour conference in Brighton this week. Asked whether the premier was doing a good job, 93 per cent said yes, 3 per cent thought he was doing a bad job and 4 per cent answered "don't know".

The fortunes of Mr Blair, who arrived in Brighton yesterday, are in sharp contrast to his main political rival. The same Labour research found that only one-third of those polled thought that William Hague, the Conservative leader, was doing a good job.

Labour strategists are aware that the findings have been boosted by the Prime Minister's capture of the popular mood in the aftermath of Princess Diana's death. One senior party source said they are "unsustainable". There is concern that the Prime Minister will start to be seen as infallible - a view that could drastically change as soon as he makes the smallest error.

The leadership does not want the conference to be too triumphalist. Mr Blair will remind the party faithful of the hard work that still needs to be done. On Tuesday, when he will be the first Prime Minister to address a Labour conference for 19 years, he will call for the modernisation of Britain's institutions, to make the country a "model 21st century nation". He will seek to build on the legacy of Princess Diana by stressing "compassion" as a key national quality. He has not decided whether to mention the Princess directly.

Early drafts of his speech indicate that he will identify creativity, compassion and an outward-looking nature as central British values. He will argue: "Now is the time to draw to a close the years of decline, the years when the leaders of this country presided over the graceful fading of outdated institutions.

"We have the chance to reshape our identity to offer the world so much more than our past, to seize the future and make it happen for us rather than let it happen to us." He will receive a further boost tomorrow when conference delegates back his plans to reform the annual policy-making get-together into an event resembling a public relations showcase for Cabinet ministers.

The leader's programme for reform, Partnership Into Power, will be approved by a substantial majority, ending the traditional and often bitter conference wrangles that have humiliated former Labour prime ministers.

In future, the new national policy forum, meeting in private, will determine a "rolling programme" of strategy to be rubber-stamped by conference.

Officials are considering ending the annual seaside bash a day early or starting a day later in future because there will not be enough business to last a week.

Although the week's events will be seen by the outside world as a "coronation" of the Prime Minister, ministers will this week queue up to warn delegates that "hard choices" lie ahead as the Government adheres to Tory spending plans up to 1999.

In particular, the Health Secretary, Frank Dobson, will say there is no more money for the NHS, over the extra pounds 1.2bn for next year announced in Chancellor Gordon Brown's first Budget. He will warn of lengthening waiting lists in hospitals this winter as pressures mount.

David Blunkett, the Education Secretary, will announce a new literacy scheme for children, but will offer nothing more to critics of his plans to introduce tuition fees in universities.

Meanwhile, William Hague faces criticism over suggestions that he may not oppose Labour's plans to abolish a hereditary House of Lords. He also faces possible embarrassment over his ballot of Tory members asking them to back him and his plans for party reform - the details of which will not be published until after next month's Tory conference in Blackpool. Tory activists resent the way in which both issues have been linked into one question.

The party does not know how many members it has. It has distributed about 300,000 ballot forms through local constituency organisations. One member since 1955 yesterday complained that he had finally received his ballot paper - too late to use it.

A Central Office spokesman said about 100,000 papers had been returned.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Extras
indybest
Travel
Flocking round: Beyoncé, Madame Tussauds' latest waxwork, looking fierce in the park
travelIn a digital age when we have more access than ever to the stars, why are waxworks still pulling in crowds?
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench appeared at the Hay Festival to perform excerpts from Shakespearean plays
tvJudi Dench and Hugh Bonneville join Benedict Cumberbatch in BBC Shakespeare adaptations
Sport
Is this how Mario Balotelli will cruise into Liverpool?
football
News
Ronahi Serhat, a PKK fighter, in the Qandil Mountains in Iraqi Kurdistan
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Poet’s corner: Philip Larkin at the venetian window of his home in 1958
booksOr caring, playful man who lived for others? A new book has the answer
Arts and Entertainment
Exhibition at the Centre Pompidou in Metz - 23 May 2012
art
News
Matthew McConaughey and his son Levi at the game between the Boston Red Sox and the Houston Astros at Fenway Park on August 17, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts.
advertisingOscar-winner’s Lincoln deal is latest in a lucrative ad production line
Life and Style
Pick of the bunch: Sudi Pigott puts together roasted tomatoes with peppers, aubergines and Labneh cheese for a tomato-inspired vegetarian main dish
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Alfred Molina, left, and John Lithgow in a scene from 'Love Is Strange'
film
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Junior Quant Analyst - C++, Boost, Data Mining

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Junior Quant Analyst - C++, Boost...

Service Desk Analyst- (Desktop Support, Help desk)

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst- (Desktop Su...

Junior Quant Analyst (Machine Learning, SQL, Brokerage)

£30000 - £50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Junior Quant Analyst (Machine Lea...

UNIX Application Support Analyst- Support, UNIX, London

£45000 - £55000 per annum: Harrington Starr: UNIX Application Support Analyst-...

Day In a Page

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape