British prime minister Tony Blair and his finance minister Gordon Brown have visited a housing project in south London that is aiming to help first-time house buyers.
It was the first stop on their trip northwards to Gateshead where the Labour Party has started its last conference before the general election expected in early May. Brown, seen as Blair’s likely successor, joined the premier in outlining six pledges if Labour is re-elected for a third term. At the housing project in Battersea, Blair said: “Over the past seven or eight years I think people have learnt not just to trust the management of the economy that Gordon has achieved but also to recognise that without that foundation of economic stability, nothing else can be achieved.” The conference is meant to rally a party still fractured over the Iraq war. Gordon Brown will claim that Britain’s low interest rates, inflation and unemployment make the economy a model for the rest of the world. The opposition Conservatives say he has over-borrowed, kept taxes too high and failed to turn round creaking public services. The latest opinion poll sees Labour extending its lead to 41 percent support, with the Conservatives on 32 percent.