Blair will tell Labour activists he shares frustration
Tony Blair has responded to last week's election protest by Labour's core supporters by insisting he shares their frustration over delays in delivering the Government's promises.
The Prime Minister reacted to the worst results since he came to power by telling supporters that the Government understands the discontent but its strategy is for the long term.
It came as Labour lost control of Watford, Hertfordshire, which declared its result yesterday after an experiment with weekend voting.
The change was intended to increase the number of people voting, but turn-out fell from 36 per cent to 27 per cent and the defeat brought the number of authorities lost by Labour to 16.
Mr Blair says in an interview with The Times today that he accepts the "frustrations" of Labour voters and wishes the pace of change was quicker.
A Downing Street source said: "We are very aware of what people are saying and share their frustrations but it is one of the prices you pay for long-term decision making."
Gordon Brown, the Chancellor, will reject demands today by party activists for the Government to focus more on the Labour heartlands, and will insist that it has to stick to its strategy of refusing a general increase in welfare hand-outs without modernisation of the system. Committing the Government to fulfil the "historic mission as a New Labour" administration, he will say there can be no "short-term quick fixes" to delivering security and opportunity.
However, Whitehall sources confirmed that Mr Brown is planning to give an extra boost to pensioners who led the protests in last week's elections over the 75p per week rise in the basic pension. The Chancellor said in his Budget that the state pension next year would be increased by £3 per week for couples and £2 for single pensioners on present inflation forecasts. He is expected to go further by providing an extra pension credit for the elderly with small occupational pensions.
The importance of the pensions backlash is highlighted today by the former minister Peter Kilfoyle. Writing in The Independent, he warns Mr Brown it would be "a grave mistake" if he simply used his £22.5bn windfall from the sale of mobile phone licences to repay a tiny fraction of national debt.
Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes
- 2 Loom bands: Bids for dress made from colourful rubber pass £170,000 on eBay
- 3 Why I'm on the brink of burning my Israeli passport
- 4 L'Oreal cuts ties with Belgium supporter Axelle Despiegelaere after hunting trip photographs
- 5 The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week
Game of Thrones author George RR Martin says 'f*** you' to fans who fear he will die before finishing Westeros saga
Loom bands: Bids for dress made from colourful rubber pass £170,000 on eBay
Supermoon 2014: When and why will the moon look bigger and brighter this summer?
Gaza-Israel conflict: The terrible price Palestinian children are paying for Israel’s war with Hamas
Iraq crisis: Government forces execute 255 Sunni prisoners in revenge for Isis atrocities, says report
Sustained immigration has not harmed Britons' employment, say government advisers
War is war: Why I stand with Israel
7/7 memorial defaced on anniversary of 2005 attacks with ‘Blair lied thousands died’ graffiti
Australia facing international condemnation after turning around Sri Lankans at sea
Even when it brutalises one of its own teenage citizens, America is helpless against Israel
Socialist Worker called to apologise over ‘vile’ article saying Eton schoolboy Horatio Chapple's death is ‘reason to save the polar bears’
£70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, A...
£30000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...
£60000 - £80000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Integration...
£75000 - £85000 per annum + ex bens: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: Biztalk Te...