Prescott and Blair to make public peace amends..

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The Independent Online
TONY BLAIR and John Prescott will present a united front today after a week in which divisions between them over public services exploded into the public domain.

While the Prime Minister will urge Labour women at a youth conference in Scarborough to fight "the real enemy of public services, the Conservatives", Mr Prescott will recite the New Labour mantra at the Durham miners' gala.

But the show of unity was undermined by the Health Secretary, Frank Dobson, who last night broke with ministerial protocol by insisting he would keep his post in the impending cabinet reshuffle.

The initiative follows Mr Blair's comment that he bore "scars on my back" from trying to force change on the public sector. Mr Prescott was said to have felt that the remark would alienate Labour's core voters.

Mr Blair will say that Labour has never hidden its plans for change. The party was elected with a mandate for an important programme of modernisation, and the public services are the key to that, he will say. "Far from undermining those services, this Government is putting in huge new investment, but it is tied to modernisation, reform and results."

Mr Blair will highlight the Government's spending on schools, but will add that the pay-off should be higher standards. In the health service, more spending should mean better care.

Conservatives of both kinds pose the real threat to public services, he will say. "Big `C' Conservatives because their only answer is the dogma of privatisation, and small `c' conservatives because they cannot face up to change.

Mr Prescott, meanwhile, will emphasise the New Labour mantra that the Government's policies are for "the many not the few. "The benefit of our policy is not the preserve of the family in the council estate or the man in the Volvo estate. It isn't a question of choosing between Daily Mail readers and Daily Mirror readers. We must deliver for the whole country," he will say.