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The Independent Online
From Mr Richard Denton-White

Sir: With the Tories polling nearly 10,000 votes in the Littleborough and Saddleworth parliamentary by-election, no opposition politician should take for granted their defeat at the next General Election.

The Liberal Democrats and Labour dare not allow complacency to help enable an unthinkable fifth successive term. Britain is desperate for change - but not of the cosmetic variety.

That means New Labour must not betray its previous commitment to fundamental constitutional change - including a referendum on electoral reform; and it means a different style of politics from the guttersnipe tactics adopted by Mandelson and Co. in this bruising Pennine campaign.

The new MP, Chris Davies, has attempted to open up a debate on the criminality proliferated by drug abuse in this country and society's response to it.

Is it beyond the integrity of New Labour candidates and activists to participate in that important debate responsibly?

Yours sincerely,

Richard Denton-White

London N16

28 July