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British Labor Votes Sweeping Policy Review

September 28, 1987|Associated Press

BRIGHTON, England — Britain's opposition Labor Party, struggling to regroup after three successive election defeats, today voted overwhelmingly to launch a radical policy review and indicated that it will back off from its anti-nuclear stance.

Party leftists accused Labor leader Neil Kinnock of planning to abandon Labor's socialist beliefs in pursuit of the yuppie and blue-collar voters who helped Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher win a third five-year term in elections June 11.

But delegates to the weeklong annual party conference, the first since the June elections, nonetheless endorsed the Kinnock-backed policy review document titled "Moving Ahead." It is aimed at drumming up support among the better off.

"The truth is that unless we change ourselves, the Conservatives are likely to dominate the politics of the '90s as they dominated the politics of the '80s," Labor legislator Charles Petrie warned the 4,000 delegates.

The 45-year-old Kinnock, flanked by deputies and seated on a platform decorated with the party's red rose symbol, took no part in today's debate.

May Ditch Nuclear Pledge

But in a British Broadcasting Corp. interview being broadcast tonight, Kinnock indicated for the first time that Labor may ditch its pledge to scrap Britain's nuclear weapons unilaterally.

Kinnock said it is inadvisable "to absolutely screw in attitudes and say that they are utterly permanent fixtures."

"The permanent fixture is the need to defend our country properly, the need to be effective allies and the need to meet those duties," he said.

"The systems of weaponry that evolves around--that is subject to change, as the superpowers have currently demonstrated," he added.

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