Triumphant Kennedy orders push into Labour's heartlands

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Indy Politics

Charles Kennedy, the Liberal Democrat leader, is to order his MPs to launch a push into Labour's electoral heartlands in London, the North of England and Wales after his party's victory in the Brent East by-election last week.

Mr Kennedy will tell his MPs not to restrict their ambitions to seizing Tory seats but to move into Labour territory. He has set his sights at the next general election on seats in London, Liverpool and Cardiff and says he is optimistic about Simon Hughes's chances of becoming the next elected Mayor of London.

Arriving at the Liberal Democrat conference in Brighton yesterday, Mr Kennedy prepared to tell activists that the party can on Labour and Tory territories. He said the victory in Brent East had "emboldened" the party and the collapse of Tory support in town halls put Lib Dems in poll position to challenge Labour.

The party has set its sights on a clutch of Labour and Tory seats, including those held by Estelle Morris, an arts minister, and of Theresa May, the Tory chairman.

His confident words came as David Blunkett, the Home Secretary, issued a stark warning to the Prime Minister yesterday that the Government must "change or die".