Blair ready to push his 'respect' agenda

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Indy Politics

After returning from his three-week summer break in Barbados yesterday, the Prime Minister turned his attention to law and order and his plans to restore a culture of "respect". However, he will have just three days at his desk before meeting the Queen at Balmoral at the weekend and flying off for summits in China and India next week.

Mr Blair is expected to attend a United Nations conference in New York the following week.

The foreign trips may increase criticism that he is not devoting enough attention to bread-and-butter issues such as crime. So he will make law and the order the subject of his first public statements after his holiday.

Downing Street also tried to squash speculation that Mr Blair was losing confidence in Charles Clarke, the Home Secretary. His official spokesman said Mr Blair had "full confidence" in Mr Clarke and said reports that he might be sacked in a Christmas reshuffle were "plain wrong".

The spokesman added: "The Prime Minister put anti-social behaviour right at the centre of his agenda and that will continue to be the case. You will see the Prime Minister talking about that later this week in terms of emphasising the 'respect' agenda and putting it at the heart of government policy."

No 10 also emphasised Mr Blair's backing for Sir Ian Blair, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, following the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes, an innocent man, at Stockwell Tube station on 22 July.

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