Blair: Leaks are 'trivial froth' and there will be no reshuffle

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Tony Blair yesterday dismissed recent leaks of government memos as "trivial froth" and said Labour was in a stronger position going into the next election than in 1997.

Tony Blair yesterday dismissed recent leaks of government memos as "trivial froth" and said Labour was in a stronger position going into the next election than in 1997.

The Prime Minister said he did not feel the need for a cabinet reshuffle and added that members of the public were more interested in real policy and spending plans than in leaked memos from himself and his pollster, Philip Gould.

Speaking in Okinawa, Japan, at the end of the three-day G8 summit of leaders from the industrialised nations, he described publicity surrounding the leaks as nothing more than "froth". "I personally think the public thinks a lot of it is trivial ... and I will continue concentrating on the fundamentals," he told BBC Radio 5 Live.

Mr Blair also said Labour's record in office meant it was in a stronger position today than at the last general election. "I think that in 1997 on the economy, for example, we were having to say to people 'Well, look, we are just going to be very cautious and responsible'," he told Sky News.

"I think that what we can now say to people on the economy is: 'Look, we have proved our responsibility and our prudence. Now let us tell you about the radical changes that can be made that can give this country a real chance of a prosperous and fair future'." When asked if he felt a need for a reshuffle, Mr Blair replied: "I don't. I reshuffle when I feel I need to and when it is the right thing for the country and the Government."

Mr Blair spoke as investigators were trying to find if leaks from Downing Street were connected with the rifling of rubbish bins of Labour figures. The Chancellor, Gordon Brown, David Blunkett, Secretary of State for Education, and other ministers are reported to have told Downing Street their refuse had been tampered with.

Mr Blair hit back after another leaked memo from Mr Gould emerged yesterday. The Sunday Times quoted a memo from Mr Gould, sent as a private joke to Alastair Campbell, the Prime Minister's official spokesman. In it Mr Gould related how one of his relatives "dreamt last night that all the voters deserted us and that Tony and Cherie had to live in our house". The note ended with the word: "Help".

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