Labour picks election campaign team

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Labour yesterday unveiled its campaign team for the next general election as party membership soared to 300,000.

John Prescott, deputy leader, announced a team of 18 high-flying backbench MPs who are to be given the task of broadening campaigning in the party and in the country. The party's membership is growing at about 10,000 a month and is on course to pass the 350,000 membership mark by next year's annual conference and 500,000 by the next election.

"Although the Tories go from bad to worse, with crisis heaped on crisis, the Labour Party knows that we should not just rely on the Tory Party to lose by-elections or the general election," Mr Prescott said.

Responsibility for co-ordinating the new system has been given to Bridget Prentice, MP for Lewisham East.