Blair's virtual campaign opens

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The Independent Online
British politicians are quickly discovering an exciting new media forum by which to woo voters: the Internet.

Tony Blair, the Labour leader, yesterday became the latest to extend his stealth election campaign to the global network, after participating in a question-and-answer session on a World Wide Web site run by the Press Association.

During the interview, Mr Blair said he expected the Internet to become more important for political campaigning in future. "I think this will be a great way of communicating with people," he said.

Tonight, the Liberal Democrats will offer their confirmation, airing a party political broadcast starring John Cleese, which will also be visible - for those with top-flight machines, or inexhaustible patience - via the Internet. However, its billing yesterday as "the first [Party Political Broadcast] on the Internet" is incorrect: the Tory Party was the first to that prize, with its New Labour New Danger PPB and campaign in mid- July.