Blair avoids making firm commitments on Labour policies

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The Independent Online
(First Edition)

TONY BLAIR will signal his determination not to be bounced into making policy commitments with a 5,000-word campaign statement this week, writes Patricia Wynn Davies.

The front-runner for the Labour leadership will follow up the document with a series of six speeches in the run-up to the contest on 21 July. His personal leadership 'manifesto' and the speeches - covering education, Europe, the welfare state, the economy and constitutional issues - will reflect currently agreed policy.

This follows Mr Blair's weekend speech in which he spoke of ethical socialism. 'Since 1983, it has come back into its own . . . that individuals are socially interdependent human beings, that individuals cannot be divorced from the society to which they belong. It is, if you will, social-ism.'

The two other contenders took to the airwaves yesterday, with Margaret Beckett making a play to be viewed as the most 'unifying' candidate. John Prescott lambasted unnamed people who were making off-the-record criticisms of candidates.