Labour to rely on Brown's achievements, says Blair

Tony Blair will seek to end the rift with Gordon Brown over Labour's election strategy today by praising the Chancellor for making Labour credible on the economy.

The Prime Minister will say that this has achieved the biggest strategic shift in his lifetime, and he will make it clear that the general election campaign will be based around Mr Brown's forthcoming Budget.

Mr Brown has been accused of going on a "global sulk" by critics but Mr Blair will emphasise at the Labour Scottish conference in Dundee that the election campaign strategy will be based on the economic achievements under Mr Brown.

The Prime Minister is expected to say: "We have shown that when it comes to economic competence, it is Labour, not the Tories, who have the right stuff. Labour is today the party of economic credibility. This is the biggest single strategic shift of my political lifetime.

"As a government we are right to claim the success of economic stability. But the economy is made up of millions of hard-working people in thousands of companies making billions of decisions that take our country forward."

Mr Brown, who is due to speak on Sunday, has been accused of keeping his head down after being dropped by Mr Blair in favour of Alan Milburn as Labour's general election strategy co-ordinator. Allies of Mr Brown are openly hostile to Mr Milburn. However, Downing Street is keen to avoid the resentment over their roles undermining Labour's campaign. Mr Brown has been assured he will have an office in Labour's campaign headquarters in Victoria Street.

Allies of the Prime Minister say it is up to Mr Brown to decide whether he is sidelined or not. "Gordon is as detached as he wants to be," said one of the Prime Minister's aides.

This weekend both the Chancellor and the Prime Minister will stress the centrality of the economy in the choice that Britain faces at the general election, said a Labour official.

Mr Blair will warn against complacency among Labour supporters, saying: "We face a vote for the future of Britain, over the kind of society and economy that Britain wants."

The Prime Minister will say that the Conservative Party, which opposed the independence of the Bank of England, the minimum wage and the New Deal for the unemployed, would take Britain back to "boom and bust", with mass unemployment and "sky-high" mortgage rates. He will reject claims that there is no difference between the parties, and is planning to contrast a future under a Labour term with "Howard's way", which he will say could put at risk Labour's "long-term dream of full employment".

Last night, Mr Blair announced that Labour is launching a new supporters' website to encourage more people to engage directly over policy without becoming paid-up members of the party. The website is at labour.org.uk. "We want people to have the chance to get involved in the election, to ask the tough questions, to put us politicians on the spot, to cut to the key issues that concern them and their family," he said. "I want to reach out to Labour supporters and show them how they can get involved in the election in a new way."

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