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APATHY PRESENTS THE BIGGEST THREAT TO LABOUR

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Voter apathy is the greatest threat to Labour in the forthcoming local elections, according to The Independent (p9)...
Voter apathy is the greatest threat to Labour in the forthcoming local elections, according to The Independent (p9).

The article, looking forward to the elections for 13,000 seats in 362 authorities, says the Labour Party might suffer because the public is broadly content with the government.

Ministers fear that the turnout in some inner cities will be much lower than the 29% national average in last year's local elections, and that Labour will be hit because the Tories will persuade more of their supporters to vote.

Margaret Beckett, the commons leader and Labour's campaigns co-ordinator, said yesterday: 'My greatest concern is that people will think it doesn't matter if they don't go out and vote.'

The expected apathy may encourage Mr Blair to speed his reforms to tackle the problem of 'one-party states' being elected on such a low turnout.

In a separate article, The Independent reports that the Liberal Democrats are poised to end Labour's near-unbroken 70-year run of running Sheffield City Council.

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