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Blair faces anti-war wrath at meet

Bournemouth (England), Sept. 29 (Reuters): British Prime Minister Tony Blair faced the wrath of anti-war members of his ruling Labour Party today as the Iraq conflict dominated the toughest party conference of his leadership.

Furious delegates accused party chiefs of blocking a vote on the Iraq war, sparing Blair what could have been a damaging defeat over a policy that has destroyed his public trust ratings and provoked calls from within Labour for his resignation.

“With the world divided, the UN divided, our country divided and our party divided, it would be inexplicable if we did not have a debate on this crucially important issue,” said Tony Woodley, head of the Transport and General Workers’ Union, one of the party’s main backers.

Conference rebels, emboldened by Blair’s dismal ratings, may still defeat him in votes on controversial plans to reform healthcare and pensions, while disillusioned Left-wingers are urging the Centre-Left party to return to its grassroots.

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