Blair: I've listened and learned

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Prime Minister Tony Blair set out his priorities for a historic third Labour term in government today but promised that he had "listened" and "learned" from the electorate who returned him to power with a massively reduced majority.

Prime Minister Tony Blair set out his priorities for a historic third Labour term in government today but promised that he had "listened" and "learned" from the electorate who returned him to power with a massively reduced majority.

Mr Blair said he understood the Iraq war had been a "divisive" issue for the country but insisted that people now wanted to "move on".

Speaking on the steps of Downing Street Mr Blair said: "The great thing about an election is that you get out and talk to people for week upon week and I have listened and I have learned.

"I think I have a very clear idea of what the British people now expect from this government for a third term."

The Prime Minister said he was more experienced than when he first arrived inDowning Street in 1997.

"Eight years ago I was a lot younger but also a lot less experienced.

"Today as well as having in our minds the priorities that people want, we, I, the Government, have the experience and the knowledge as well as the determination and the commitment to deliver them."

Mr Blair highlighted one particular issue which he said concerned voters at this election - a "disrespect" which is prevalent in society from schoolchildren in classrooms to revellers in town centres on a Friday night.

Mr Blair said while the loss of the "deference" of the past was seen as a good thing "there is a disrespect that people don't like.

"Whether it is in the classroom or on the streets or town centre on a Friday night, I want to focus on this issue.

"I want to make this a particular priority for this government."

He promised to try to "bring back a proper sense of respect" in schools and local communities.

Mr Blair went on: "We have done a lot so far with anti-social behaviour andadditional numbers of police but I want to make this a particular priority forthis government - how we bring back a proper sense of respect in our schools, inour communities, in our towns, in our villages.

"Arising out of that will be a radical programme of legislation that will focus exactly on those priorities."

Mr Blair said voters wanted the Labour Government to concentrate on improving the health service, schools, law and order and tackling the problems with the immigration system.

He continued: "I know that Iraq has been a deeply divisive issue in this country. That has been very very clear.

"But I also know and believe that after this election people want to move on. They want to focus on the future in Iraq and here.

"I know too that there are many other issues that concern people in the international agenda and we will focus on those.

"On poverty in Africa, on climate change, on making progress in Israel and Palestine.

"So there is a very very big agenda for a third term Labour Government.

"Even if we don't have quite the same expectations that people had of us in 1997, yet now we do have, I believe, the experience as well as the commitment to see it through."

The Prime Minister said that whatever the "difficulties", he shared the samevalues of "fairness and decency and opportunity for all" that the Britishpeople hold dear.

"I have also learned something about the British people.

"Whatever their difficulties and disagreements with us and whatever issues and challenges confront them their values of fairness and decency and opportunity for all and the belief that people should be able to get on on hard work and merit not class or background - those values are the values I believe in, the values our government will believe in."

Mr Blair said the campaign had shown that voters wanted a strong economy with more investment in public services, but only with "the changes necessary for the 21st century".

He said the British people were "a tolerant, decent people" who did not want immigration turned into a divisive issue. But they did expect the problems in the system to be tackled, he added.

"It is a tremendous honour and privilege to be elected for a third term," he said.

Mr Blair was speaking after returning from Buckingham Palace where the Queen asked him to form a new government.

The Prime Minister posed on the steps of No 10 Downing St with his wife Cherie, and four children Nicky, Euan, Kathryn and Leo.

The family smiled and waved to the cameras as Mr Blair picked up his youngest son four-year-old Leo, who gave a grin and a wave as he clung to his father.

The premier then turned with his family and walked through the door of No 10 where he was greeted inside by a burst of applause.

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