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Tony Blair yesterday delivered a rebuff to John Prescott, the environment secretary, by making clear that improveme...
Tony Blair yesterday delivered a rebuff to John Prescott, the environment secretary, by making clear that improvements in public transport must come before the imposition of further measures to discourage people from using their cars.

The Daily Telegraph (p1) reports that Mr Blair revealed his irritation at Tory attacks on Mr Prescott's plans for congestion charges and a tax on workplace parking.

'There has been much talk of the government being anti-car,' he said. 'This is total nonsense. We have no intention of forcing motorists off the road. But we need to address the congestion problem.

'The best way to do that is to create a world class public transport system that gives motorists a real choice.'

However, Mr Blair did not mention Mr Prescott's plans for tolls of parking charges. And Downing Street held back from confirming that the meassures would definitely be included in the next session of Parliament.

John Redwood, the Tory environment spokesman, said: 'The prime minster has rumbled that John Prescott's transport policy is creating standstill Britain.'

Mr Blair's comments came as he visited the headquarters of London Underground to make clear his commitment to improving services for the ageing network's three million daily users.

He announced the setting up of 'monitoring arrangements' to ensure that the money was spent effectively. A taskforce of officials from the Treasury, DETR and the Government Office for London will supervise investment plans.

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