Tory Ancram's election win vow

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Indy Politics

Conservative party chairman Michael Ancram today claimed Labour was in disarray - and vowed the Tories were heading for general election victory.

Conservative party chairman Michael Ancram today claimed Labour was in disarray - and vowed the Tories were heading for general election victory.

He told the party's Bournemouth conference the tide had turned and that Labour's cover had been blown and its image shattered.

Mr Ancram said in an upbeat speech: "We know we can win because over this last year we have won time and time again."

And he highlighted last month's fuel crisis as exposing all that was wrong with the Government.

He claimed: "It showed that they don't listen. It showed the only answer they have is spin. It showed that in the face of pressure they are incompetent."

Challenging the Prime Minister to call an immediate general election, he said: "We are ready to let the people decide. Are you, Mr Blair?"

Mr Ancram said: "This is the conference which I believe with all my heart can set us on the road to victory at the general election."

Successes in the local elections and London Assembly elections had "turned the tide".

The "rigid political mould" had been broken.

He added: "Now there is all to play for. We know, and more importantly so do our opponents, that we can win."

He warned the Liberal Democrats - "a mere faction within the politics of the left, supine in the face of new Labour" - that the Conservatives would win back Romsey and 30 more of their seats.

The Conservatives were ready for the fight, he said, adding: "Last week Mr Blair said he too was ready for the fight...

"Well I have a challenge for him. If these words are more than mere rhetoric ... let him call the election now."

Far from the shores of extremism, as critics claimed, the Tories were "the party of the mainstream, sharing the values of the mainstream majority in this country".

Mr Ancram pledged that in the coming poll, the party would fight tooth and nail to keep the pound and against the "surrender" of more powers to Europe.

"Contrast that with Mr Blair's Napoleonic self-delusion last week that he alone can lead his party and the country to the Promised Land and see this week the reality dawn.

"Blair knows now for the first time that he can lose and he knows now for the first time that we can win."

Mr Ancram said Labour had "squandered" the golden economic legacy left by John Major's Government and "blown" massive public goodwill.

"They have devalued the integrity of politics by spin and lies and distortions until nobody believes the words any more."

Of the Tories' improved poll rating recently, he said: "I put no great store by opinion polls. They are snapshots.

"But these recent snapshots of the last few weeks show if nothing else that the magic of the mirage that was New Labour has gone, and gone forever."

He warned: "The fight ahead will be hard and it will be long. I can offer no easy passage. We must be disciplined and united in our determination to win.

"It will need courage. It will need resilience. It will need determination, vision and integrity. Above all it will need strength. And we have all these in one person - our leader William Hague."

However hard the going during recent years, Mr Hague had never flinched or lost heart.

"These last three years have not been easy," he acknowledged. "They have been gruelling. They have been wearing and they have often been dark.

"But there is today a new dawn lighting the horizon. It is the reawakening within our country of the spirit of reality, of generosity, of choice, of freedom. It is the renewing of our party and our dream."