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ASHDOWN SEES LIB DEMS BEEFING UP A BLAIR GOVERNMENT

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Liberal Democrat leader Paddy Ashdown sees the role of his party after the general election as one of influencing a...
Liberal Democrat leader Paddy Ashdown sees the role of his party after the general election as one of influencing a Tony Blair led Labour government, says The Independent (p6).

In his party conference speech yesterday, Mr Ashdown, repeating the refrain 'with the Liberal Democrats strong in the next parliament', said Lid Dems could guarantee action on issues like environmental pollution, welfare reform, a clear course on Europe, and constitutional reform.

'The great cause of reform is not safe in Labour's hands,' he said.

The paper says that Mr Ashdown was clearly suggesting he could inject a backbone into a Blair government.

Meanwhle Lib Dem president Robert Maclennan outlined the party's ideas on consitutional reform, which would include Scottish and Welsh parliaments, but with English regional assemblies only coming into being if local people gave consent in a referendum.
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