Heseltine spoils Labour's party

Deputy Prime Minister Michael Heseltine has gatecrashed the launch of new business demands for Britain in a bid to spoil the Labour Party's biggest propaganda coup yet in wooing captains of industry, writes Paul Farrelly.

On Tuesday, Tony Blair will deliver the keynote speech at the the London launch of Promoting Prosperity: A Business Agenda for Britain, the conclusion of a two-year review by the left-leaning think-tank, the Institute for Public Policy Research. The event will condemn the Tories' record on education, investment and shifts in policy.

The IPPR's Business Commission will also accept the need for a national minimum wage to control welfare costs and favour opting in to the Social Chapter but remain cautious on European Monetary Union.

That the IPPR should challenge much of Tory policy is no surprise. The 17-strong Commission, however, also includes senior business leaders not noted for supporting Labour.

Mr Heseltine's office had no comment to make this weekend but an IPPR board member said: "He basically invited himself to the party. We couldn't really refuse him. He is going to attack those aspects of the report that are unfriendly to the Tories."