Labour in Blackpool: Get tough - with one of the victims: Conference Notebook

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WHEN TONY Blair says he wants to get 'tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime', he has good reason. Burglars have entered his north London home six times in the past three years, it emerged yesterday. On two occasions he was in the house asleep with his wife, Cherie.

Criminals have made off with two television sets, two video recorders, a handbag, a personal organiser, various letters and a bicycle. He has also had his car broken into at least twice. The most recent break-in was in August, but no one has been caught.

The police are baffled as to why his pounds 250,000 house should be so popular with the underworld. Located in an exclusive Georgian crescent in the upmarket borough of Islington, it ought to be relatively safe.

THERE has been a dramatic switch in consumer spending on the pounds 6 audio cassettes of conference debates.

In the past, the Arthur Scargill tape has invariably shot to No 1. But Steve Heliczer, director of QED, provider of the sound systems, reports that the Labour leader's speech is easily outselling the others. 'For the first time in five or six years the main platform speakers are by far the biggest sellers,' he said. Today's last-minute rush could upset the chart, but the enthusiastically attended women's quotas debate is lying second, with Gordon Brown's Building a Strong Economy at No 3.

The political editor of the BBC spent 12 days in the summer cruising off the coast of Turkey on a yacht with Lord Archer, former deputy chairman of the Conservative Party, it emerged yesterday.

Robin Oakley and his wife joined 'a party of friends' at the invitation of Lord Archer, who was being touted at the time as a possible Tory chairman. Oakley, a former political editor of the Times who has been at the BBC since 1992, said Lord Archer had borrowed the yacht. 'Jeffrey has been a friend of mine for 25 years,' he said at the conference yesterday. 'I hope you are not implying anything. He didn't have a political position at the time. I feel free to go on holiday with friends in any of the political parties.'

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