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All eyes were on Gordon Brown on Tuesday as he made his last major conference speech before the next general election.

The prime minister outlined the changes Labour has made over the last three terms, including more young people reaching further education, lower crime and improved healthcare.

And he urged delegates to keep Labour in power, launching a sustained attacked on the Conservatives.

Speaking on the UK's economic downturn Brown said: "The only thing about their policy that is consistent is that they are consistently wrong."

Despite being the "underdog", he insisted Labour offers the best choice for the UK's future.

Earlier in the day, Jack Straw defended the constitutional reforms implemented by Labour, saying they amount to a "quiet revolution", placing more power with the public.

The justice secretary also said Labour would seek to press ahead with further reform to the House of Lords.

Addressing the Brighton conference, he added that the government plans to publish proposals for a new second chamber to replace the Lords.

Straw said there was "more open government, more power where it belongs with the people".

Also speaking on Tuesday was home secretary Alan Johnson, who announced new plans to ban violent husbands and partners from their homes for up to a fortnight.

Police will be able to use the Domestic Violence Protection Orders to prevent victims of domestic violence having to use emergency accommodation.

"For too long it seemed to be accepted that domestic violence against women and girls was a private matter," Johnson told the conference.

Former GMTV presenter Fiona Phillips had earlier lightened the mood with a gushing introduction for Johnson.

"Alan is real. He has the human touch. He's chummy and approachable and yet the other side of him is very serious and hard working," Phillips stated.

"Alan speaks from the heart. He's honest. He appeals to people. People love him - a rare attribute these days among politicians."

She added: "I love him". And for good measure she later declared her love for Straw too.

Local government secretary John Denham launched his speech with a scathing attack on the Tories.

He said: "These people are different to us. They have different values, different priorities, a different view of what makes the world tick."

Denham urged the conference to appreciate the steps Labour has taken.

"Communities have changed. The world of work has changed. In the last year everything life, work, homes, incomes have changed. And become more difficult," he said.

"For all we have done to build up the health service, improve schools, raise incomes with tax credits, invest in building and construction they want to know that we are still on their side.

"And if this party does not speak for them in every street, in every community then we have no purpose."

Culture secretary Ben Bradshaw also spoke of the improvements Labour has made.

"Ten years ago only one child in four did two hours of sport a week in school. Today, 90 per cent of children do," he said.

"Just as Labour has delivered Britain a sporting renaissance, we've delivered a cultural and artistic renaissance too.

"More than twice as many people have enjoyed our great museums and galleries since Labour made them free."

29 September 2009

 Last updated: 30/09/2009 10:14:00



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